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Singletary 1 Morgan Singletary Professor Jan Reiman English 1101 February 7, 2014 Self-Assessment: I choose to write my memoir on one

of my most recent and what I believe to be the most important part of my literacy experience. I choose to focus on my junior and senior year of high school English classes because I feel that I learned the most about myself as a reader during those two years. What I would like you to read for is whether or not my story flowed well, did I go to in-depth with my high school years or should I include more about it? In this piece of writing I was trying to clearing describe what reading certain novels has done for me and how it has shaped some of the things that I have done in my life. I did not include any pictures or visuals because I wasnt sure what I should include or what was an appropriate fit for my memoir. My Very Own Literacy Memoir Many people might start out by saying that they learned to read in elementary school and their favorite teacher was Mrs. Smith because thats who they remember as being the teacher who officially thought them to read. Although I did learn to read in elementary school I do not remember who taught me to read or what my first book was or when I even got my first library card, I guess you could say that I do not have a good memory at all. What I do remember is this, when I enrolled in Advanced Placement English, also known as AP English, I thought it would be a breeze and a good look for my transcript. I was wrong. On the first day we were all handed two pieces of paper stapled together. As I began to scan the pages I noticed that the only thing that the two sheets consisted of was book titles, just book

Singletary 2 titles! I immediately became intimidated by this a million thoughts began running through my mind. How in the world am I going to pass this class? I dont remember the last time I actually sat down and read a whole book This teacher is crazy if she actually thinks that Im going to read all of these books. Just starting at that list made me want to switch out of the class immediately because when things get tough our first instinct is to just give up right? But then I thought to myself just maybe I will be able to handle a course like this any maybe I will pass after all. The first novel that my English teacher assigned us to read was William Shakespeares Othello. After reading the first couple of pages of the novel I wanted to just pull my hair out. How in the world could someone word an entire book like this and why would my English teacher assign such a confusing and boring novel? After struggling to finish the novel I just thought that I was so dumb because I had no idea what it was even about. How could someone read an entire book and not even know what it was about? After having a class discussion about the novel I was finally able to understand what it was really about. I decided to go back and reread the novel and I discovered the beauty of Shakespeare and how well Shakespeare used his words to come up with such beautiful stories. We did not write much in this class except for our senior paper. I struggled a lot with writing this paper because I had never been asked to write a six page paper before and I had no idea where to even start. My teacher gave us a few tips here and there but she wasnt much help. After turning in my first draft it was handed back to me with red pen all over it. It looked like she had bled on it while she was trying to correct it. Im pretty sure she went through the entire paper just looking for things that were wrong. She did not give me any suggestions on how to fix my errors all that she did was tell what I did wrong. This was very discouraging and hard to handle. I

Singletary 3 had no idea how I was going to make this paper the way she wanted it to be. I struggled for weeks and weeks to write a polished piece. It took me hours to read through my paper and correct what she thought were mistakes. I suffered through it and turned in my final paper. This is really the only recollection I have of writing a paper in high school. My high school English classes mostly consisted of reading novels and answering questions about the them after we read them. Nothing I couldnt handle. After completing my first year of AP English with a B I decided that the class was really for me and that I wanted to take it again my senior year not just because it would look good on my transcript but because I actually wanted to read more novels. Going into my senior year I was ready for anything that was thrown my way whether it was my AP Calculus class or my Physics class or even my English class. I had heard from some of my other classmates that my AP English teacher for my senior year English class, Ms. Lamay, was one of the hardest teachers they had ever had. Just the news I wanted to hear. She immediately assigned multiple books to read back to back to back. What was she doing to us? Does she not think that we have a social life at all? After about the third novel many of my classmates just decided that they were not going to read anymore of the books that she assigned because they thought it was just simply ridiculous the way that she just kept assigning novel after novel. Me on the other hand I was paranoid that if I stopped reading the novels then she would begin testing us on what we were supposed to read and there was no way I was going to fail any kind of test. After drowning us in many boring novels she finally assigned one that caught my attention. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt because one of my favorite novels. I never thought that I would enjoy reading a novel as much as I enjoyed reading that one.

Singletary 4 Not only was the story itself insane but it actually happened. This novel really opened my eyes to the word of non-fiction literature. Before I would have never considered reading any novel that was based on any historic event because if we are being honest history can be very boring. After finishing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil I began to dive in and read novels like Ann Frank and Snow Falling on Cedars both were about people who were discriminated upon during times of war. I am not really sure why such novels began to intrigue me but the stories that the authors laid out really caught my attention. I began reading novels on my own time. Lois Lowrys Number the Stars, Eleanor Ayers Parallel Journeys and Eli Wiesels Night, all books that had my attention the moment I read the first page. Maybe it was because the stories I was reading were true and not just made up fictional stories that were put out there for laughs or fame. The meaning behind these novels went a lot further than what was written down on the pages. They were true stories about human suffering and one of the most devastating and horrific things to happen in human history. Many people claim that their abilities to read started when they were in elementary school. Although this is also true for me I believe that I did not really understand how much a novel can open your eyes to the world around you until I was a junior in high school. Thinking back now I do not remember a single novel that I read while I was in middle school but I could most definitely list all of the novels that I read my junior and senior year of high school. Reading these novels about the Holocaust made me want to learn more about this historical event. I researched it on the internet and watched many documentaries on it and even went to the Holocaust museum located in Washington DC. If it was not for these novels I probably would have never had any kind of interest in this event and I would have been too lazy to just do research on the internet about it.

Singletary 5 By having to read multiple stories in high school I have learned to never judge a book by its cover. The cover had nothing to do with what the book is about. Because I have read multiple novels on the Holocaust and it has become one of my interest in school I have decided to take an entire course on it while I am in college even though it has nothing to do with my major. My literacy has had such a huge impact on my life thus far. Without the ability to read and write I would not be where I am today. Some may say that specific teachers have had a major impact on their literary development but I think that all of my teachers combine have impacted my literacy. Each teacher has a different teaching style and a way different taste when it comes to novels but if it has not been for the teachers who assigned novels that has to do with the Holocaust I would have never discovered how interested I was in it.

Morgan, Its really interesting to read how your thinking evolves here. You go from being intimidated by a long list of books to seeking them out on your own and even picking a particular subject of interest. Revision ideas: the paragraph about writing doesnt fit in here anywhere. Think about taking it out. Now that you have thought through how reading has impacted you the past few years, you can do a few things: you could reframe this piece to be about how reading helped you discover your passion for Holocaust studies; you could explore more about sponsorsdig into where you had access to books, what/who allowed you to visit the Holocaust museum, etc,; or maybe you want to keep the basic structure you have here and refine it a bit. See what you think about my marginal comments. I hope my comments overall help answer your question about whether or not you should focus more on the HS part or not. Please write a talk back.

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