Last 1 Name Ms.

Caruso English 1103 August 20, 2012

Literacy History My literacy history begins with my first ESL teacher in New York. Being raised in a Spanish household it was not as easy for me to comprehend reading, and writing. I remember barely being able to read when the other kids were reading their first books not to mention having the hardest time figuring out which letters were which. My first ESL teacher worked with me on a daily basis, ensuring that I caught up with the other kids. She influenced me positively by helping me overcome the obstacle placed in front of me, and constantly reminding me that anything is possible when you work hard. The only negative experience regarding English I had was in seventh grade. I had a racist teacher, who needless to say, was a jerk. I feel like I learned nothing in that class, and I did the worst I have every done in English with her. Every decent paper I turned in to her, she criticized horribly. It seemed like I could never get a good remark on anything I did right in her class. She would grade my paper the hardest, and often told me to “consider retaking seventh grade English”. I ended up taking my papers to my sixth grade English teacher prior to her, just to make sure that it was not completely horrible. However, all her negativity did was push me to do better. I ended up with the lowest B in the class, but I did a lot better in my future English class.
Comment [BC1]: What did she do that was racist? When she gave you feedback on your writing, did she talk to you about the reasons behind the feedback?

Last 2 Mrs. Truell, my first honors English teacher was by far my favorite. Mrs. Truell honestly made writing and grammar enjoyable. She related everything she taught us to things that were relevant to us in order to keep us entertained. I will never forget when she taught us about infinitive phrases. She used the example “To do the stanky leg” then asked a student to teach her how to do the “stanky leg”. That day she was being observed by a member from the school board and made them stand up and do the “stanky leg” with her. Her perky personality made students want to be in her class, want to participate, and want to learn. Her class was my absolute favorite writing course in my entire literacy history. The most recent person to influence my writing was my AP English teacher, Mrs. Piatkowski. In Mrs. Pk’s class, we did more writing in one semester than the writing I did my eleven years of school. When the class started, my essays were the weakest in the class- hands down. However, instead of recommending I drop the course, Mrs. Pk worked with me one on one: helping me elaborate on my ideas, stay on focus, and be a more detailed writer. My last writing course was AP English in High School. It was my first AP English course, and as any other person; I was terrified. I knew I was the weakest writer in that classwhich only intimidated me more. However, Mrs. Pk was an amazing teacher who reassured me that not everyone was excellent at writing. We wrote essays, we analyzed poetry, we took reading comprehension questions- everything necessary to improve our writing. I remember I used to love analyzing poetry! It was something that I was good at because no one could ever be wrong. Discussing it afterwards, and sharing opinions on what everyone thought the poet was addressing in their poem was amazing since it was always different.
Comment [BC2]: Great!

Last 3 When I first started writing my essays on the poetry I analyzed, they were very weak. They made no sense, my ideas even contradicted themselves! We used to write those essays in a poetry journal, which were graded biweekly. My first grade was an eighteen out of twenty five. As we continued to write those essays, my writing did become stronger. My teacher commented in our writing journals that the more we wrote, the more my writing was starting to make sense! Towards the end of the semester, my essays on the poetry got their strongest and I made my first one hundred! I was so happy, and I kept trying harder and harder to keep my poetry essay grades up. Before AP English, I honestly hated writing and hated English class. I despised anything that required me to read (unless it was a book of my choice) or write. Afterwards though, I began to like it; however, I didn’t love it. I currently believe that reading and writing is very importantto an extent. I feel like knowing a million synonyms for “a lot” or “like” or even “eat” is completely absurd. I also despise grammar, with every ounce of passion I have inside of me. I hate having to check over a paper to make sure the comma is in the right place and to check if there colon is used incorrectly. I personally feel as if there are a plethora of things I would rather be doing than checking grammar, and if that was not an aspect of writing, it would be so much easier to write a paper. The only part of grammar that I like in the least bit would be spelling, because I am a pretty good speller. The second hardest part of writing for me would have to be transitions. I have the worst time being able to come up with a good transition statement. Making my paper flow from paragraph to paragraph is usually impossible to me. If I can create one good transition sentence, I more than likely will struggle creating another.
Comment [BC5]: Work on reading your paper out loud. Many natural transitions will make their needs known that way. Comment [BC4]: Look at your content. It will take you most of the way. Comment [BC3]: Keep trying for your other writing, as well. You obviously improve with practice!

Last 4 My writing process includes a brainstorm where I get all of my ideas together, and to organize the mess of thoughts in my head. After brainstorming, I like to do a little bit a research, just to be positive that my thoughts make sense. I begin to create an outline and reorganize my organized mess. I create my paragraphs, and figure out a few sentences for each paragraph. Finally, I start writing my paper. I use my outline to organize my sentences then start to elaborate on my ideas or just “blab”. When I am close to finishing my paper, I start to reread it. Not only then do I realize that my writing makes no sense, delete it all, then start all over. I usually write the paper twice, and still am not content with my writing. Even after I turn it in I think about how I could’ve made it better. To be completely honest, I rarely reread my paper for grammar errors. I usually just reread it to make sure that it makes some sort of sense. As far as this semester goes, I expect that it will help me be a better writer, maybe even like writing a little more. I honestly am interested because I love improving myself, no matter in what aspect. I am not necessarily scared about this class, because it seems like it is not going to be too hard, however I do not expect it to be easy. I am a little scared about the papers that we will eventually turn in; hopefully there are not many seventeen to twenty page papers due. In this class I really hope to improve on my writing by getting better at transition sentences, and maybe even grammar. If I finally get better at grammar then there is a chance that I will not completely hate it.
Comment [BC6]: Rather than scrapping the whole thing, have you ever just revised what you had?

Last 5 Marii Rojas Ms. Caruso English 1103 August 28, 2012 Literacy Memoir Overall Reflection After reading my literacy memoir evaluations, I realize that throughout my entire literacy history I was very ignorant to writing. Some parts I wrote in a more excited tone than others, but when I wrote about how I felt about writing, there was a tone of pure ignorance. My inability to have any passion for writing was not obvious until after I evaluated a stranger’s memoir, and reading what a stranger wrote about my memoir. The person that read my memoir seemed to have a more positive approach to my history. They thought of me as determined, and strong-willed, just by reading my memoir. I, for one, never thought of myself so highly. I knew that I tried hard, and that I was motivated, but it took someone else to say that I was determined and strong-willed for me to realize it. They did agree with me about my lack of passion for writing, that I did not realize until I read someone else’s memoir. After reading someone else’s memoir, I realized how much I did not like writing. I once thought that I was a pretty good writer, but after this project I realized that I never truly cared about anything I wrote. I never actually put myself into my writing- I just wrote because I had to, not because I actually wanted to. As the person that read my memoir said, “Their enjoyment for reading and writing has increased, but only to an extent.” After taking AP English, I began to

Last 6 find aspects of writing that I actually liked, but it was not until then that I actually found joy in writing. Overall, the literacy history project helped me realize that I was missing passion in my writing, and that is what I plan on working on the most this semester. By keeping an open mind, I hope to improve my writing, and hopefully strengthen my passion for writing.
Comment [BC7]: You can certainly grow as a writer this semester. Just be sure you are grabbing that passion and using it!

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11 responding to 11. Ms. Caruso 1103 August 26, 2012 Literacy Memoir Response 11’s portrays themselves as the victim when it comes to writing. They repeatedly stated that they were the “weakest” writer in their class, and obviously think negatively of writing. However, 11 does put enough detail in their memoir to consider it a “little” narrative. By including personal thoughts, names, and emotions, it makes it more specific, pertaining to one person instead of being broad and pertaining to a group. Their inability to be positive makes it hard for them to actually put value into writing. They strengthen this belief by stating that they don’t see the importance of synonyms, or grammar. The manner in which the writer has represented themselves is communicating their hatred for writing, but their desire to better themselves. There are some points in which the writer seems to have a positive view of English, for example when talking about their ninth grade English teacher, and their AP English teacher. However, in contrast they also have a negative connotation in the paragraph about their racist teacher. This piece reads as something that 11 actually put some effort into. It is not something that they spent a substantial amount of time on, but it is evident that they did not write it in a hurry either. Considering that they actually gave this piece some thought shows that they are willing to make an effort in the future pieces as well.

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I personally believe that 11 should focus primarily on what they hate most, grammar and transitions. By revising their future papers, and giving their transitions some time and effort, 11 should improve drastically when it comes to their weakest areas.
Comment [BC9]:  Comment [BC8]: Look at clarity!

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11 Responding to 9. Ms. Caruso English 1103 August 26, 2012

Literacy Memoir Response  The lack of detail in 9’s memoir made this appear as a master narrative due to its broadness and inability to show their actual past. The “success” archetype was most obvious, this stood out the most when one read: “This writing intensive class if really what I need. I need to write papers and essays so I can become a better writer because my future depends on it”. This line portrayed the common belief of needing to be good at writing, just because one was told that it will be necessary in the future. #9 obviously values reading, considering that they stated that at the very beginning. They made their love for reading stories, especially J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter evident. However, they lacked to portray the true value of writing. The desire to better their writing was there, but it seemed as if they only cared because they felt that they needed a good grade to get a job as a lawyer. #9, in my opinion, is missing the value of writing in a more personal stance. They failed to realize that being a good at writing can do so much more than get them a good job, it can act as a stress reliever, it can be a hobby, and so much more. Since there was a severe lack of detail in a majority of the memoir, one would say that this was constructed haphazardly. Considering that they took AP literature and honors English classes, one would’ve expected to see a plethora of detail in their memoir. The obvious repetition, spelling, and

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grammar mistakes add to the belief that they put minimal effort in it. Overall, 9’s paper was pretty good; however, they should focus on forming their sentences a little more. Like they said, their writing will improve by repetition- by constantly writing essays, their writing will improve.
Comment [BC10]: Pay attention to your font, your block heading, and your spacing between paragraphs. Comment [BC11]: 