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Patrick Ruth
Professor Blandford
UWRT 1103
19 October 2015
Literacy is EVERYWHERE!
Literacy is something essential in our everyday lives. In fact, it is the crux of who we are
as people. Literacy is not just the ability to read something off of a piece of paper. It is the
capability and aptitude to convey our thoughts to others. We, as human beings, need to
communicate with one another because in doing so we are cable of expressing our feelings and
experiences, letting us truly understand each other.
How do we become literate? Well some might claim through the process of learning to
read all different varieties of books. However, being literate does not necessarily mean a one and
done experience. Since the human language is always evolving, our cognitive ability to
communicate must also evolve as well. We try to be more literate every single day, and it is an
everyday occurrence. In todays world, our ways of communication continues to evolve in a
rapid manner due to the advancements in technology. The duties we have as students is to absorb
these new ways of communication and fully utilize their capabilities to better improve our ways
to interact with one another.
Since a very young age, reading has always been a big part of how I stay in tune with
people. I am a much more introverted person than I am an extrovert. Because I relate to a more
introverted personality, reading became an important part of my life. I guess the reason for my

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proclivity to reading all began with my mother reading to me as a kid. I remember I used to reread these picture books over and over again. My mom used to show me these picture books that
had noises for each of the animals when they talked. Because of this interaction, I was able to
learn the type of noise an animal makes to the picture of them. This helped in my literacy
because I was able to connect the sound to an image of what the sound represented. At around
the fourth grade, I remember my parents pushed me to enter a competition that required me to
read a certain number of hours and record the number of books read throughout the year. At the
time, I did not care to read for long periods of time or read anything beyond my level of reading,
but I really wanted to receive the rewards for completing the required reading hours. In the
beginning, I found it frustrating that I would run into words I had never seen before and not
know what they meant. Eventually, I was able to comprehend the words meaning by reading
around the word and paying more attention to the context of the story. In doing so, my ability to
read the word in context allowed me to understand the intent of the author. Even though I could
not understand each and every word, the author was still able to communicate his thoughts to me
through his story-telling. Because I challenged myself to read more difficult books, reading and
understanding words as a whole became a much easier endeavor. With the capability to read
more challenging books, I was able to read books that I enjoyed reading for myself and not just
the ones required by school.
The book that changed how I saw reading and made me enjoy reading fantasy books was
Eragon. The book was about dragons, how cool is that? I had never read anything like it before.
It was like stepping into a whole new perspective I had never really noticed before. After dragons
came Greek Mythology with the Percy Jackson series and many others like it. I think the true
reason why I was so inclined to read fantasy books was because anything could happen. Fiction

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books have a very cool aspect about them because authors can ignore the realm of reality and
rely on their own imagination. I was never very creative in my way of thinking, and I always had
trouble thinking of anything original; so when I read fiction books where the world of the author
brings his own invention to life, I was truly awe-inspired. Unlike non-fiction books where
everything is fact, I truly enjoyed reading the unexpected occurrences in these action packed
fantasy novels. Every chapter was something new and refreshing, and I had no previous
knowledge of what would happen. In a way, my own creative process was developed from
reading fantasy novels. Since I always craved for what would happen next in a book, it led me to
make up my own scenarios. I would try and predict the next chapter based off what I want or
think would happen. Afterwards, I would eagerly see how the author himself or herself decided
to put his or her own spin on it. Because of the creative aspect of these novels, I was able to
creatively enhance my own imagination to help produce my own self-satisfactory stories about
books I truly enjoyed.
Through reading I became a much more literate person than I was previously. Reading
helped advance my vocabulary because I was able to discern the meaning behind words I did not
know. Not only that, I was able to creatively express my own thoughts by referencing ideas from
books that I had read. Besides reading there are many other forms of how someone can become
literate. A huge example of literacy I experienced in my life was television. I absolutely loved
cartoons, like SpongeBob, because of its comedic aspect. I would watch many TV shows that
had a lot of talking in it. Although I did not quite get all the jokes, it was still very entertaining to
watch how the characters would act. In this way, I saw multiple dialogues of the characters and
how each character acted in response to what was being said. Watching how these conversations
played out in the show helped me to increase my knowledge of conversational skills. Nowadays,

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I watch more serious shows like NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, and Last Week Tonight with John
Oliver. Through watching shows like Last Week Tonight, I begin to acquire more relevant
knowledge today because it is information that is currently in the news. Watching television has
always been much easier for me to do than actually reading about events or things talked about
in the newspaper or on the radio. The aspect of television that appeals to me is visually seeing
what is happening. It is much clearer for me to understand something when I have a visual
description to match what I am listening to. Watching news on TV compared to reading it in the
newspaper has a much bigger impact on me because it can hold my attention better. TV is much
more pleasing to the eyes with color and motion than the black and white, non-moving letters of
a newspaper. Because it is presented in such a fascinating and entertaining way, I am drawn to
watch TV which has helped inform me about the world around me today.
Another huge part of my literacy came from video games. The way people play in a game
is very different than how they would act in real life. Everyone I played with including myself
seemed to be a much more active and different person when playing online. High intense games
would be very stressful and cause me to rage at the game if I or someone else did something
idiotic to lose us the game. Sometimes we may take things a little too far and forget that its just
a game, and all we should be doing is having a fun time online with our friends. I tend to not be
much of a talker online because I have seen many unkind gestures and acts meant to harass other
people, and I do not wish to be that kind of person online or in real life. It is sad to think that
these people who harass and cyber-bully people online probably would not be acting the same
way if they were confronting their victim in person. Behind a screen we are braver than we seem,
but when the curtain falls will we act just as tall? Because I have played a lot of video games I
have learned how cruel people can actually be when you are not actually confronting them in

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person. It is a shame that we become someone we are not as soon as no one sees us. The
language in these type of environments is a lot worse than I would usually hear at school or in
public. Since I started playing very violent games when I was really young because of my older
siblings, I learned very fast a lot of the crude language in the world. However, video games are
not always such a bad influence. I have met a lot of friends that I still talk to today because of
video games. I am a much more social person online compared to how I am at school or outside
in public. I find it hard to connect with others because I am not really connected on social media,
but when I am playing video games I am able to hold conversations because I am talking about
something I enjoy and know with other people who are interested in the same things I am.
Because of video games, I am able to connect with other people not just in the same area, but all
across the country or throughout the world when otherwise I would be unable to in person.
Just like in videogames, social media also has a very different language of its own. When
I was in middle school, I noticed that a lot of words we use in day to day conversations were
spelled very differently than how we would properly spell it in school. Abbreviations became a
huge part of how people talk to each other on things like skype or through texts. People on social
media try to make things faster and easier to communicate with others. The whole point of things
like Facebook was so people had a way of talking to each other over long distances which saved
much more time to do other things. My parents have a hard time understanding the type of
wordings we use to communicate with the younger generations. It is much easier for myself to
adapt to these changes, since I grew up into this new generation of technology. Since my parents
are not well connected with todays texting, I make sure when texting them I type out the full
word so they know what I am talking about. We are so used to acronyms for everything that at
some point it becomes actually harder than easier to understand what someone tries to say when

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their entire sentence is abbreviated. As for myself, I am not that socially literate as everyone else
because I do not use any of the popular social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etcetera.
The reason for my dislike of participating in these activities is because I feel as though it is too
time consuming. All my teachers and counselors in high school were always telling me be
careful what you post online because future job recruiters will be looking at whatever you post
on social media. I figured it would be much easier if I avoided being on social media in general,
so I would not have to worry about being judged about my character about the material I post
online.
As you can see literacy is all around us. It is not just in books or on pieces of paper, it is
in cyber space, texts, movies, and TVs. The forms of literacy are almost limitless. The way we
connect to each other is literacy. Whether it be through novels, articles, blogs, or even a tweet,
we are communicating with each other. As long as there is an author and an audience, we are
being literate by understanding what one has to say and recognizing their intent behind the
words.