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Work shopping Memo

The first partner I had to read my paper was Bennett McDonald. The feedback
that he gave me was that I need a good thesis statement in my introduction paragraph. In
the second and third paragraphs of my paper he said to expand more on the subjects.
Meaning to elaborate more on my childhood and the reading and writings I did. Bennett
also suggested talking more about when I discovered who I was as a writer and how I
have changed over the years. He overall liked my paper and liked how in one of my
paragraphs I connected the government to it. With the feedback I added a thesis statement
to my introduction paragraph to draw readers in and tell what the purpose is to writing the
paper. I elaborated more on my early childhood to give the reader details on how I
learned how to read and write. In my conclusion I talked about how I have changed as a
writer over the years and how I discovered my writing habits. Overall I think Bennett
really helped with the feedback of my paper. He seemed to be interested in making my
paper better without sounding mean. Bennett helped me to improve my paper and
allowed me to add things that I would not have thought of.
The second partner I had to read my paper was Alyssa Rankin. We ran out of time
while exchanging papers so she was not able to read all the way through. The feedback I
received from her was to add a better title that reflects more of my personal experience
with literacy. She talks about in my first paragraph to talk more about reading and writing
directly. Alyssa stated how good my transition was into my second paragraph and how
good the focus was. With the feedback that I obtained from Alyssa I changed my title and
added more to my first paragraph. I think Alyssa helped me to improve my paper with the
little time she had to read it.

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Nicole Mello
Ms. Knudson
UWRT 1102
9 March 2015
My Journey to Literacy
Reading and writing has always been an important factor in my life. I grew up in
a house where education was important. My parents were very successful in school and
each earned their doctorate degree. My mom now owns her own practice as an
audiologist and my dad works in management at a high technology company. To say the
least my parents have strong expectations for me. I am the oldest of three, which means I
am the person my siblings look up to. It sometimes is nerve racking thinking that what I
do influences my siblings. Trying to fulfill my parents expectations and being a mentor
to my siblings drove me to work hard in school. School doesn't come easy to me; I have
to work harder than everyone else and really struggle with reading and writing. Teachers
along with my parents have helped me a great deal over the years to become a better
reader and writer. Certain books that I have read and papers that I have written have had a
huge impact on me and have shaped the way I read and write today.
My childhood books included Good Night Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,
The Rainbow Fish, and many more. My mom would always read these books to be right
before I went to bed. I also read many Dr. Seuss books when I was a child and can still
remember what they are about to this day. I am always amazed how one can still
remember their favorite book from their childhood. It shows how we as people value
books and how much they impact our lives. Pre-school was an important time in my life

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as that is where I began learning how to read and write. I remember doing writing
activities where I would learn how to write and learn the alphabet.
In Kindergarten I was first introduced to group readings and adjusting to being in
school all day. Even today I still have group readings in my classes. In Kindergarten I
would listen to the teacher or parent read; today I read in front of a class and have group
discussions based on what I or one of my classmates read. In Kindergarten I also learned
how to write, not very well but the basic structure. I would mainly write only a sentence
and have a lot of misspelled words. I remember giving my parents Valentines Day cards,
birthday cards, and Christmas cards that I would make in class. This was the basic
foundation of where all my writings began.
Elementary school was where my foundation for writing and reading really began.
Back then it was more fun than stressful mostly because writing activities were not
graded. We would have fun activities to broaden our writing and reading; such as show-in
tells, group activities, and lots of coloring. As I progressed through elementary school
learning vocabulary and grammar was extremely important. I remember there being
many quizzes and tests on vocabulary words. The books that I liked in elementary school
consisted of the Nancy Drew series, American Girl Doll books, and Harry Potter series. I
loved to read in elementary school and I would read whenever I had free time. In third
grade I loved American Girl Dolls, they are dolls that are from a generation and represent
that generation. Each book told a story about a doll and their struggles of growing up in
that time period. I was interested in these books because I learned history without being
bored. These little chapter books lead me into reading higher-level books. The next series
that I loved were Nancy Drew books, which were mystery books. All of my friends loved

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Nancy Drew books too, I remember all of us going into my friends closet and pretending
to solve mystery cases just like Nancy Drew did. After reading these books I would take
short little quizzes online about the books. When taking the quizzes you would earn
something called AR points through my school. These points would accumulate
throughout the month so at the end of the month you were allowed to choose a prize from
the AR store at school. These prizes were an incentive for children to read books.
While I liked reading in elementary school to earn prizes I had a hard time with
reading and writing. In reading I was always in the lower reading group, which consisted
of children that were reading below grade level. My parents and teachers knew that I was
struggling and encouraged me to read more books; they taught me the more you read the
more comfortable you get with reading. Writing was also a struggle; I often misspelled
words and did not have a broad vocabulary. In fourth grade in a parent conference my
teacher suggested that writing each day in a journal would give me the practice that I so
desperately needed. I hated writing more than anything and having to write each day
made me so upset. I remember I would have to take an hour away from having fun with
my friends to write in the journal. I hated writing in it because I didn't know what to write
about and knew I was missing something fun. Although now I am glad my parents made
me write in a journal because it brings back memories and makes me laugh. In my
opinion writing each day makes you a better writer, but I still don't enjoy doing it.
After elementary school and entering into middle school I discontinued my love
for reading. In elementary school reading was fun and relaxing and something that I
enjoyed doing. When middle school came along and we were assigned reading I did not
enjoy it at all. It would be so hard to get through a book that was assigned. The books

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would be boring and not something I liked to read. I would have to do homework on the
reading too which included questions from the book, projects, and papers. Reading felt
more like a chore to me than enjoyment. I was stressed out about doing well on a project
or test about the book instead of being interested in the actual book. Some books that I
read in middle school were: The Lightning Thief, The Outsiders, and The Jaguar. I
remember reading The Lightning Thief and absolutely loved the book. It was a fantasy
book that was based on Greek mythology. This book was so different from other books
that I had read and interested me so much. However The Outsiders and many other books
that I read in middle school were awful. They would put me to sleep and I struggled on
projects and tests about the book. Middle school was also the time for the first big papers
that I had to write. Papers that consisted of more than two pages and were actually
graded. At this age I thought that writing two page papers was close to impossible but
now I write at least two page papers every week.
After middle school while writing small papers and reading a few books high
school came. High school consisted of writing multiple page papers, group projects, and
having discussions. There was a lot more reading and writing than in middle school. The
tests and papers were graded a lot harder and made you really have to think. Some of the
books that I read in high school included To Kill a Mocking Bird, 1984, Lord of the Flies,
and Shakespeare poems. 1984 was a book that I read in my senior English class and one
that I really liked. The book was set in the future and showed how our government could
be run in the future. Our government has a lot of information about us and if they keep
getting more of our personal information, our government could turn into a totalitarian
government. 1984 shows us how life is with only one person in charge. The government

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is always spying on its citizens and if they break one of their rules they are killed and
never to be spoken of again. This book interested me because I have never read anything
like it before. It made me think that there could be a possibility that our world could
become like this. I never realized how much information the government has on us and
could use it against us one day.
There have been very few papers that I have actually enjoyed writing and was
proud of. One paper that I am most proud about was writing about my American dream.
It was one of the longest papers I have ever written but the one I was most interested in
writing about. The three main topics we had to write about were my American dream,
who I look up to, and a famous person that I look up to. Writing this paper made me
realize who I was and who I wanted to become. It helped me figure out what type of job I
wanted and how I would be able to achieve that dream job. Looking up to my mentor and
the famous person I chose, I realized that in order for them to achieve their dreams they
had to work hard and that is what I plan to do to achieve my dream.
One of my proudest accomplishments was in high school when I was assigned to
write a twenty-page business plan over an entire semester. This paper was for a club I was
a part of called DECA. It is a business club at my high school I attended and every year
people go to compete nationally with their business plan. Everyone has different topics
about what they write about. My topic was about owning my own business, which I plan
to do one day. I want to own an upscale boutique that sells clothes for teenagers. Clothes
have always been an interest to me and I would love to choose which clothes I would
want to sell in my store. Since my mom owns her own business it has always interested
me in starting up my own. Within the business plan we had to write about the location,

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the amount of money it would cost to startup, how we would get the money, how we
would market the business, the set up of the store, and many other things. I liked writing
this paper because I actually want to do this and this business plan will help me in the
future. Throughout my lifetime teachers have dramatically influenced my writing;
teachers have had both positive and negative affects on my literacy.
I have had my fair share of some pretty awful teachers that made me hate writing
and reading so much. In middle school and high school teachers would put so much
pressure on me that it made me hate writing and reading. I felt that even with all the
papers and books that were assigned nothing helped to improve my reading and writing.
Sophomore year in high school, I absolutely hated my English teacher. My teacher was
the grammar Nazi, everyday he would have us correct sentences on the board. I was not
good at grammar so I was embarrassed to go up to the front of the classroom and try to
correct a sentence. I never got all the grammar mistakes out and my face would turn red.
He would make me stand up there until I finally figured out all of the mistakes. I dreaded
going to that class so much in fear that I would get called to the front. After finishing the
class I realized that the teacher really did help me to improve my grammar mistakes;
especially since that was the year to prepare for the SAT and ACT tests.
Another teacher who impacted my reading and writing was my seventh grade
English teacher, Ms. Moore. Seventh grade was when I really started to write two or three
page papers, which I thought was impossible at the time. Ms. Moore was more than
willing to help me think of topics to write about and to organize my paper. Without her
help in seventh grade I do not think I would be able to organize my papers like I do today.
She helped me with transitions in my papers and making sure everything made sense. Ms.

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Moore also helped me with reading; I remember going into her classroom in the morning
or at lunch and reading short passages in the book. She would provide me with questions
to answer and then tell me how to read and answer questions based on what I read. Even
though I still struggle with answering questions based on something I read, Ms. Moore
helped give me basic guidelines. High school English was hard but I was even more
worried for college English.
Going into college I was terrified for English class, I thought everyone was going
to be amazing at writing. I did not take any advanced placement courses in high school
and I knew my writing was not the best. I was sure that English class in college was
going to be difficult for me. After going through my first semester in English class, I
revised a lot of my classmates papers. I realized that a lot of my classmates also
struggled with writing and that I was not the only one. My writing improved a lot over
first semester, my teacher gave excellent feedback on my papers which helped me
improve. I also used the writing center to help me plan and edit my papers. With people
willing to help me improve my writing I gained a lot of self-confidence and was not as
terrified. After reading Shitty First Drafts in our class I realized how I create drafts and
how much they differ from the article we read. Shitty First Drafts states that drafts are
not perfect and are meant to be deleted after writing them. With me I like to have my
rough drafts looking almost like the final draft. While writing I like to correct my essay as
I go; I do not like writing just whatever comes to my mind. I like to plan out what I am
going to write so then when I go into writing my paper I have a plan and do not need to
revise as much.

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My journey to literacy has not ended, as I keep on improving and learning
something new everyday. Reading different types of books in college and writing
multiple page papers have helped me on my journey. I have come to realize that it is a
learning process and the only way to improve my writing and reading skills is to become
an avid reader. By reading other peoples work it gives you experience in becoming a
better writer yourself. Over the years I have learned a lot about myself as a writer; I like
to plan before I write and write over an extended period of time instead of just one sitting.
I still have a long way to come with discovering my writing style and my writing will
only improve.