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Tyler Bridge
Mrs. Marcum
UWRT 1103
September 22, 2015
Literacy Memoir
The first memory I have of experiencing literacy was when I was about
five years old my mom would read me a book called I'll Love You Forever by
Roger Knapp. The book was about a mother who read a book to her son
every night and when he fell asleep she would say Ill love you forever Ill like
you for always as long as Im living my baby youll be. Then the son grows up
and when his mother is sick he reads her the same book. She must have read
me that book every night for at least two years. I had actually forgotten about
it until I really thought about my first experience with literacy. Even 12 years
later I can still imagine the pictures and hear my mothers voice as she read
me to sleep. My mom always encourages me to do my best and for that I
would say she is one of my main literary sponsors, I think that most people
consider their parents as literary sponsors because they raise you and read
books to you when you are little and they teach you how to speak.
My next specific literary memory is of kindergarten where I remember
learning how to spell words in class and each week we would have a spelling
test. I usually did pretty well because everyone who got above a 90 would get
some sort of prize such as candy or a little toy or pencil etc. I was never
interested in class as much as I was fooling around and talking to my friends;

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I remember getting so frustrated when we had to stay inside when it was


raining. Even though some of my friends enjoyed reading I just didnt take
interest in it. I couldnt see how reading could ever be fun when I could be
social and make new friends. Where I am from, you were not ridiculed or
looked down upon for having an interest in reading, so my apathy towards
reading wasnt out of fear of being made fun of Elementary school came
naturally for me, I got As in almost every class and I was in the AG
(academically gifted) program. Reading and writing has just never been an
enjoyable pass time for me even though Im not terrible at it.
I think that my friends did have a role in helping me to become literate
in the sense that, they were the people hung out with. So a lot of their
mannerisms subconsciously transferred over to me including study habits and
the way I talked around them was different from that of when I was around my
parents. This is mentioned in the Delpit Reading that we read in class the best
quote from that selection to sum it up would be we have to change our
natural selves just to be adequate I agree with Delpits quote. I think that
many people change the way they talk in a classroom setting, I know that I
do, along with many of my peers. I think people do it to comply with a
standard English in order to sound educated.
Middle school was a bit tougher because as it turns out my magnet
elementary school did an awful job preparing me for the reality that is true
public education. I was so behind in almost every subject and I got dropped
from the upper level classes. However, my English teacher Mrs. Samuels
didnt give up on me even though I was placed in the lower level class. I

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remember her telling me that she had higher expectations for me because
she knew I could do it (I was mostly bad at math). I passed her class with an A
even though I got a D in math but a four on the EOG exam; the teacher did
not like me at all. 6th grade was definitely the toughest year of schooling I
have been through because I was so behind going into it.
Looking back on my middle school years I can definitely say that Mrs.
Samuels was and still is a very important literary sponsor in my life. To me she
was just a teacher in middle school but someone I could go to and trust for
advice. Now she is a family friend and resembles an old fashioned, southern,
religious grandmother. I am not sure that I have ever seen her upset and she
loves to help children with whatever they need from reading a paper to
problems at home.
I believe I only read two books for pleasure my entire time in middle
school. The first was Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. I finished the
book and I was so disappointed that I had wasted my time, the movie was so
much better and only took me two hours to watch. The second book was
Holes. I had seen the movie before I read the book so already knew what
would happen, however I loved the book just as much as I loved the movie
and I read the book twice.
I remember my freshman year of high school I was dreading English
class mostly due to the fact that we had to do a summer reading assignment
on Things Fall Apart. I only skimmed the book for the questions and even
used spark notes so I didnt have to read. I have never liked reading
especially during the summer! However, we got to school and I turned in my

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assignment and thankfully I got a 100 on the assignment. We began to


discuss the book in class and I was completely lost so I decided to actually
read the book. Our teacher Mr. York was teaching us things about the text I
had never thought of before like theme and how different things from the book
were symbols and how the book could relate to us. Freshman English
became a very enjoyable class for me. My senior year I had the same teacher
for AP English. We went over the syllabus and I saw how much poetry we
would be doing and I cringed. I never liked poetry, finding the meaning was
always so hard for me. However, Mr. York is a published poet so he taught
with great passion and helped us all realize that poetry is actually pretty
interesting and I enjoy it a lot more than I did before I took the class. We spent
so much time analyzing different poems and how they are formatted and how
the author can use different words to convey tone and meaning.
We also had to write a research paper as part of our final grade for AP
English. We were told to research a topic about future technology and how it
could impact the world. I chose to write my paper on the upcoming automated
car industry. I had never written a research paper before and I was surprised
by how much I learned. I was also interested in my topic had many Socratic
seminars where we discussed our topics and argued our points and what we
thought about these new technologies. That was a fun assignment because
we had never done anything like that before and it allowed us to hear others
feedback on what we were writing.
Another amazing thing I found out about myself is that I love to mentor
kids. Mrs. Samuels, my teacher from sixth grade, got a job at the school my

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mom worked at and offered me a position as a breakfast buddy. A breakfast


buddy is basically a sponsor for an elementary school student who is
struggling in their classes. I was assigned a kindergarten student who had
severe ADD. I would come in Wednesday mornings before school started and
we would eat breakfast and I would help him with his morning work and just
talk about school. It was amazing to see how much he grew over the year. At
the beginning of the year he could barely spell his name and at the end he
was reading and his writing was exponentially better.
Prior to this assignment I had never given any thought to, or even
heard the term literary sponsor. This assignment has made me think more
about how lucky I am to have access to public education and to have people
in my life who care about my education. I have just never put a thought to all
of the people who have made an impact in my fundamental and
developmental education that has gotten me where I am today.
I have also neglected to think about how class and culture can play a
role in how you learn to read and write. I am personally from a white lowermiddle class family so education has always been easily accessible to me
and I was also able to get help if I needed it. Most of my friends are financially
better off than I am, however, I dont think it played a big role in my education
because my friends and I all went to a magnet public school. When we read
The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie, it
helped me realize how him coming from an Indian reservation effected his
literary career early on. Even though he lives in the same country I do, his
culture looks down upon people who try to advance their education. Maybe

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they dont want their people to think they are better than the rest of the people
who live in the Native American culture, or maybe they just see it as a waste
of time. I believe that becoming literate is different for every individual and
where you come from can play a major role
I believe that writing a literary paper is important as a reflection tool and
to help you remember where you came from and who has helped you on your
literary journey and it helped me realize that people really do care about my
education and have put fourth effort to better my education. I have never put
much thought into how I became the student I am today and it is nice to think
about all of the people who have impacted my literary history.

Works Cited
Delpit
Sharma