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Davis Powell

UWRT 1103-52
Ashley Marcum
Literacy Memoir
Our literacy history guides us become who we are as people. The reason it is essential to
recall our literacy history is to be able to identify how we have changed as people over time. Our
personalities, thoughts, and writing styles are all impacted by our literacy history. Through
searching over my complete literacy history I will be able to identify what I believe literacy is
defined as and how I have changed over time as a thinker, reader, writer, and above all else a
My first experiences within literacy in elementary school were extremely discouraging.
From Kindergarten to first grade, not much occurred that affected my literacy besides learning
the alphabet, writing my first words, and expanding my vocabulary. In second grade, I recall
writing a story with a partner in class. Although, it was meant to be a partnered assignment, my
partner persisted to write a story about dragon and didnt include me in the writing process. This
was my first experience writing a story and I had already begun an unfavorable view towards the
writing process. In fourth grade, I had a notably poor experience with my English teacher, Ms.
Hayes. My performance in her class was especially poor and my parents and Ms. Hayes began to
take notice. Ms. Hayes would constantly choose me to answer questions when she knew I didnt
know the answer. Also, conferences between her and my parents every week poorly shaped my
mindset of writing. I continued to struggle in Ms. Hayess class because she disciplined me for
my lack of attentiveness instead of encouraging me to learn. Overall, my experiences in

elementary school concerning literacy dreadfully affected my mentality moving into the future of
my education.
Also, during this time I became interested in the Harry Potter series. Every night, before I
slept I would read the Harry Potter books with my mom. After I was done reading one of the
books in the series, I would move onto reading the next one. These books made me extremely
engrossed in many other fantasy novels as well including Peter Pan and Spider-Man. I improved
as a reader and expanded my vocabulary by reading all these fantasy novels. This was the first
time I became interested in reading or anything involving literacy. Although I enjoyed reading
during this time, this wouldnt last long because of poor experiences I would have in future
English classes.
Throughout high school, the cycle of essay-oriented writing every year was the main
substance of the English curriculum. This statement was more evident in tenth grade as
compared to any other year. My teacher that year was Mrs. Lendyak. She seemed to be a petite
lady besides her gargantuan stomach, immensely stretched from her many months of pregnancy.
She was a fairly strict teacher and extremely bitter; because of this she assigned truckloads of
homework each week. Homework included two essays a week, vocabulary worksheets, reading,
and studying for quizzes and tests. This homework was coupled with football practice and the
homework, quizzes, and tests from other classes. The day-to-day cycle of football practice,
homework, quizzes, tests, essays, and vocabulary was extremely frustrating. Through the first
month of the school year I had mediocre grades in effortless classes and an F in English. After
many feuds with my parents concerning my grades and countless talks with Mrs. Lendyak, I was
fed up and determined to succeed in sophomore year English.

Even though I had newfound determination, I still struggled in English. I built my grades
up to par in other classes, but faltered in English class, especially on essays. In order to correct
this, my mother hired a tutor to teach me how to write essays. We created essays together at a
Barnes and Noble bookstore down the road from my house. She helped me establish a writing
style and taught me the principles for writing an essay. Meeting with her twice a week for a
month changed the way I would write essays for the rest of my educational career. She had the
most substantial impact on my literacy history and is my most crucial literacy sponsor. After our
meetings together, my essay grades improved considerably and my overall English grade did as
The next year of high school, I read absurd amounts of historical text, expanding my
knowledge and reading skills. We read books such as The Great Awakening, The Great Gatsby,
The Water Effect, and many others. Many of the books we had to read were disinteresting, but
The Great Gatsby was a novel I overly enjoyed. The Great Gatsby novel was the first book I had
read in school and enjoyed. This book revealed to me that not all assigned readings all dull and
boring and inspired me to search for other books that could give me the same enjoyment. The
day after I finished the Great Gatsby, I went to the library in search of books and found The Lord
of Rings series. I went home and started reading the first book in the series and became
captivated. I finished the first book in a week and the whole series in a month. During this time, I
immensely expanded my vocabulary, endorsed writing better essays, and learned a great deal
about literature. The same year I was given an assignment called the junior paper. The junior
paper was a six to eight page paper supporting or opposing a worldwide controversial topic. I
chose to support animal cloning in America. The next year I continued to expand on this paper
by creating my senior exit project. This project helped me learn a stockpile of information about

animal cloning. Also, I learned more about skills such as public speaking and essay writing. A lot
of skills I learned in this project I will have to use in my future career.
In my senior year of high school, I had Mrs. Butler for English. Senior year was much
more relaxed than my other years of high school. The workload for this class paled in
comparison to classes of years past. The whole semester we focused on one novel called Hamlet.
We had to literature circles, yet again, while reading this novel. Also, after completing every
section of the novel we would watch that section in the movie Hamlet. Also, we would act out
each scene we read in class with props and character lines. To me, this process seemed a bit
overboard, but it really helped me understand what was happening in the text. Even with
Shakespeares diction, it was easy to understand each passage after reviewing it. Also, during this
year, I had a project that accounted for twenty percent of my grade called the senior exit. This
project was a continuation of the junior year paper, so I had the same topic. There were many
pieces to include in the senior exit including a presentation, a graph, a reflection paper, and many
other pieces. By the end of the semester we had to dress up and give a presentation in front of
three teachers. I made an A on the project and was definitely happy with myself for it. Senior
year English was a laid back class besides two major assignments we had to throughout the
course of the semester.