I was always one of those student who had to know every single word that I read. I didn't mind stretching out of my comfort zone when it came to speaking. But, I could not read a book in Spanish without having a dictionary on my lap. Reading was so very frustrating. I loved the idea of being literate in a second language, but could never really branch out past the functional literacy into the same love of reading I have in my native tongue.
One of my primary reasons to study in Chile was to break myself of the English crutch when it came to reading. I took a literature class there that just about killed me, and it worked in that I was able to read novels in Spanish when I completed the course, but I still did not love reading in Spanish.
And now here I am, reading in Spanish again. But this time I'm taking some advice I picked up at a conference. I'm just reading, right past the words I don't know. I don't stop to try to decipher them. And it's amazing, but it really works! As I keep reading I am finding that it is easier and it is going more quickly, and my brain seems to be able to suddenly fill in the meaning with the context as I keep going.
3 days ago