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Zach Hurd E106 Michelle Parsons September 18, 2013 Draft 2 Learning from One Fish, Two Fish,

Red Fish, Blue Fish Each and every one of us becomes literate at some point in our lives. We learn, from a young age, to communicate with the people around us. Communicating in a way that gets our ideas across to someone and understanding what they have to say in return, whether it be verbal or physical, is a form of literacy. We are able to improve upon our literacy by enrolling in a school where we are given an education. But we learn the most from those sponsors that we live with and spend our time growing up around. Life around the house when I was too young for school included watching television shows like Out of the Box and Bear in the Big Blue House that attempted to teach kids like me how to pronounce simple words. Also, my dad would read my brother and I Dr. Seuss books after dinner. I have to admit, those books really helped me learn to read the words as they were written in rhymes. He would read us One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish the most, as per request and I would watch my fathers finger trace over the words as he read them aloud. Eventually, I would try to move my mouth to form the sounds that matched the letters and words that were read to me. Once I learned to decently speak the words, I would run around repeating the rhymes to everyone in the house, even the dog. You can imagine how my family felt as I constantly repeated, One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! Black fish, blue fish, old fish, new fish, along with various other rhymes from the book around the house and in just about every

car ride. This proved that I learned well from rhymes and they would help me learn to pronounce new words. Soon, I moved on from Dr. Seusss rhymes to the Goosebumps books which were introduced to me through my grandfather. These books were like rated R movies for me. The covers of the books even intimidated me so much I hesitated to pick them up sometimes. The images of the wicked, vile monsters were painted on the covers along with the name, Goosebumps, always oozing what seemed like slime from the paper. These books also moved away from the familiar rhyming I was accustomed to. But the suspense and detail put into these books kept me reading more. The difference in the content put into these books improved my literacy by adding a wider vocabulary and introducing different forms of dialogue. I began to learn new words from the context of the sentences they were placed in. Having my parents introduce me to a wide variety of books differing in their genres and time periods helped improve my literacy and interest in books. My parents were not my only sponsors of literacy growing up. My older brother began testing me with words that he would be learning in his class, trying to embarrass me and prove that he was much smarter than I was. I bet you dont even know how to spell flower! he taunted. Do so! F-L-A-W-Y-R! I would angrily shout back. At first, I would get a response somewhere along the lines of a blatant laugh and a scoff. Being three years older than me, he felt quite superior. But he didnt know he was actually teaching his younger brother to spell words that I wasnt supposed to learn for a few more years. At first, I would misspell the word he taunted me with and as he spelled it aloud to me, I would practice it in my mind and be prepared for the test the next time it came up. Its spelled F-L-O-W-E-R, duh, my older brother would mock. This not only helped me learn to spell new words but gave me a better understanding of

what sounds certain letters made, even though the English language has an assortment of rulebreakers. Spelling was not the only aspect of literacy that I learned from conversations at home with my family, I also learned how words were used properly in sentences. Whenever I would make a mistake in everyday, informal speech, my parents would stop me in the middle of my story and make me correct myself. A common example when I came home from school and my parents asked what I had done that day I would say, We played a fun game today and I and Jake won! which of course I would have to correct to Jake and I. Even though I would become irritated and very confused about why I couldnt finish my story first, I learned that grammar was important, even in everyday conversation. Everything that Ive learned from my literary sponsors has given me a solid work ethic when it comes to writing papers and learning aspects of literature. Over the last few years in high school, I was assigned a variety of formats and writing prompts that expanded my writing style. Knowing when and where to use a specific writing format will be very useful in my college career and in finding and applying for jobs and internships. Both my parents and my older brother, whether he knew it or not, were literacy sponsors in my life. They taught me to pronounce sounds of certain letters, spell basic words, learn the proper usage of words in sentences, and they introduced me to several different forms of literature. My family pushed me in the right direction to explore various forms of literature and pathways to literacy. I learned the most from my family, whom I spent the most time around, on how to become literate, even as some of them were learning too.