Ryan Burlesci English 111 3 December 2012

Table of Contents Page 2 Page 3 Page 6 Page 11 Page 14 Table of Contents Self-Assessment Revised Essay Original Essay Strengths and Weaknesses

Over the course of the semester, we have covered several different writing topics. The topics covered were literacy narrative, textual analysis, informational reports, memoirs, and research papers with an argumentative twist. The class was different from any class that I have taken before, and was very neat due to the difference and the beneficial side to it. One of the neat things that we did in class was the discussions board. This allowed us to choose from a list of writings and break it down. This helped us learn to break down readings and summarize what they are saying. It also allowed us to throw in our opinions in the critique. The way that we were able to also review what others wrote allowed us to see how other readers interpret the writings. When I would read what another student would write for their summary and critique, it never failed that they would make note of something that I had not even noticed. The discussion boards were definitely a plus in the class. The way that we did the class readings were also a plus. We were allowed to read the essays prior to class, which allowed us to get an idea of what we will be discussing during the next class. We were able to see the questions that we would be asked which allowed us to prep for the class period. This made us as the student look smarter, while also making the time spent on the lesson go by more efficiently. Class instruction was convenient since everything we discussed was put in a word document and sent to us via email. It allowed us to study after the class with the notes that we took in the class and also ensured we had them while writing the essay. There were a lot of big words used in the class instruction, but the teacher always went to the dictionary to break it down for us. This made the class much easier to be in.

Turnitin.com was definitely the neatest tool that we used in class. The plagiarism checker made me feel really comfortable, especially on the research paper. The fact that we were able to get a peer review allowed me to make changes prior to my paper prior to turning it in. It is amazing to see that changes that needed to be made to a paper that were not detected by the writer, but a different reader notices it immediately. It is definitely a very handy tool. Coming from Mrs. Marshal’s class, I felt that I had a general idea of how college would go. I was 100% wrong. I was under the impression that the teacher would lecture and then assign the next project. That is it. In reality, this is not the case. The teacher is willing to help the students when they need it, and will actually teach and not just lecture. That is one big plus about this class. I will admit that I did slack off a bit as we approached the holidays, but always got my work turned in on time. The only problem that I noticed with this class was emailing in work. It is unknown if the work is really turned in or not unless the teacher replies and confirms it. I did have an incident with a paper that was turned in via email that never made it to the teacher. What caused it? Nobody knows. It is just a good thing that the teacher understood the problem and still allowed for it to be turned in. With the class coming to a close, I can say that this class has definitely had benefits that will help me in future classes and also in life in general. In future English classes, I will be sure to have my essays read by a different person to check for errors prior to turning it in. I will also

read deeper into anything that I read to help me catch the little things that usually go unnoticed.

Ryan Burlesci Stacy Jones College English 01 October 2012 Learning to Read As we grow up and start doing basic skills like reading and writing, we fail to think about how we learned that skill. For me, learning to read and write was a task that my parents put a lot of time and money into. Numerous and countless hours were spent to ensure that I had the education that I needed to have the opportunities at a successful life. It all starts way back in the 90’s in a small coastal town in California. I was born into a community where everyone knew everyone and still do to this day. With all of my family living within a ten to fifteen mile radius, I was always being shuffled from place to place from family member to family member. Obvcoarse all of my family members wanted me to talk and would try to teach me little words like mommy, auntie, nana, etc. My mother, barely 18, worked at a Round Table Pizza store in this town. She was a pizza maker and delivery girl. With this hookup, she got lots of pizza and drinks for free at the end of the day. As one could imagine, that meant that I would be getting pizza on a semi regular basis. To nobody’s surprise, my first word was pizza “pidda” and soda “doda”. To this day, I still hear about my first words being pizza every time I am craving it.

My mom’s mom AKA grandma was a principal of a private school in this town. Because of this, I was in school from the time I could walk. I remember my early years in the classroom because of the neat items it had in it like the giant Lego collection or the reptile and insect collection. There were many collections of books that I remember “reading” at that age like When You Give a Mouse A Cookie or the Dr. Seuss series. I continued to go to school here for many moons until I moved to a different part of California right before Kindergarten. Kindergarten was a whole different world for me. I was always used to getting what I wanted because my grandma was the principal, but now I was all on my own in the huge world around me. Kindergarten was a year that involved a lot of little reading like Winnie the Pooh and The Berenstain Bears collection. That was also the year that I learned the Pledge of Allegiance and learned the alphabet as well as my first Spanish words. There are very few things I remember about kindergarten, but I can remember the fun I had playing Reader Rabbit on the computer and unknowingly learning how to read and write. Needless to say, we hit the road again after that year and moved to Sacramento. Schools here were very different from what I had experienced before. The school was setup like a college campus with a ton of buildings and outside work areas. It was a whole new world. I soon learned that my reading level was lacking as well. I was admitted into a special class to get me caught up with the rest of the class. I remember this class being some of the best times I had in elementary school. We would use a reading program with little mini stories to practice reading and also used a program called Zoo Phonics. This was used to incorporate sounds and animals to teach the sounds of letters. One example is Ally the Alligator and Ollie the Octopus. Apparently this system worked, because my mom started using this system with her

kindergarten class. As I moved into the second grade, I was put in a more private class. In this class I focused mainly on writing stories. We would take a general idea and let our imaginations run wild. To make it even more fun, we got to draw pictures on each page to with the stories. After it was all done, the teacher would bind the pages together and we had a legitimate story made. After second grade, I was considered caught up with the other students. I was taken out of my special class and stayed in the classroom all the time. I excelled in school through the fourth grade until it was time for some more news…. We’re moving. Due to a man getting shot at the park across the road, my parents wanted to get out of there and live where they knew we would live safe. So we moved to good ol’ Tennessee. After twenty straight hours in a car riding half way across the country we arrived in Morris Chapel, Tennessee. The difference from Cali to Tennessee was a major culture shock. The school changed from over 1,500 kids to around 400, and the buildings were so much smaller. I went to school at West Hardin Elementary in Crump. I was three quarters of the way through my fourth grade year. The class that I was in was so far behind California’s standards, that I was one of the smartest in the class. Plus, I had already done almost all of the required reading, therefore I was assigned to a special task. I had to read AR books. This was a totally new concept for me. I had to read the book, and then take a test on the book for a certain number of points. This presented a challenge for me. I wanted to be number one in the school and get the big prize at the end of the year. I read every series that I could from the Boxcar Children to the Harry Potter Series. Before it was all said and done, I had accumulated the most points in the school in just one semester. This was the year that I was also introduced to the

TCAP test. I had always been used to the CAT test that California issued. I remember that I felt that I had gotten screwed over, because I was only at that school for a few months and still had to take it. The following years went by with nothing special to report. I went to Hardin County Middle School where I got caught into the Hardy Boy series. I read every one of them that the school carried, and even put requests in for more. In the eighth grade, we did a lot of studying of the holocaust, so I read several books on that sore subject. On the plus side, we got to go on a trip to Washington DC and tour the White House and a lot of other buildings and museums. After the eighth grade, I moved to Adamsville High School to get a “better education”. This school had definitely stepped up its game from Hardin County, so I had to actually work to get descent grades. From the time I started the ninth grade to the time that I graduated, I never read a book unless it was required reading. I had to read books like Animal Farm and Beowulf. I had Adamsville’s famous teacher, Mrs. Marshal, teach my senior English class. This meant that I had to step up my A game because she isn’t afraid to fail a student. After slacking off in the first semester, I had to really push myself in the second semester to redeem myself. Needless to say, I passed… with honors. Now that I am out of high school, I use my skills of reading and writing every day in the workplace. From reading an order of protection and inserting it into the national database, or listening to a 911 caller and translating what they say into a summary card. The skills that I learned over the years are key factors for my success in today’s workplace.

Nobody really thinks about how they learn to read and write. It’s just a natural skill that we use day to day. But if you really think about the factors that contributed to the success, it all kind of just flows together. From the time we are born to the time we die, we always use the skills of reading and writing even when we don’t notice it. Could you imagine how hard it would be to live a life where you couldn’t read the words around you?

Ryan Burlesci Professor Jones English 1 01 October 2012 A Look into the Past As I look into my past at all of the wonderful and fun filled memories I have been through, I think about the little things that made me what I am today. Being in the compounds of a smoke filled apartment made me hate cigarettes; and listening to my step dad ramble around drunk inspired me to pertain from drinking alcohol. But one of the most important skills that I have learned in my life is the ability to read. I recall going back to the time that I was barely graduated out of diapers, sitting on my great grandmother’s lap as she read to me the stories that she wrote about my uncle. She named the character Ple Ple, and he was a young hyper fellow just like me. He went on adventures in the yard and was always into mischief. I learned my first words from Ple Ple as he took me into my hyperactive imagination that I could only dream of reliving. I recall one of my adventures with Ple Ple being of extreme danger. Ple Ple saved a young girl from the fiery depths of a house fire, by running in after her. I was motivated at that point in my life to help save a young damsel myself, and proceeded to go after her. Needless to say, I had a nice trip to the ER after my grandmother found me pulling one of her dolls out of the fire place. As I moved into the school years, I learned that I was behind the reading levels of the other students in my class, but I was perfectly happy with it. During reading, I got to go to a

special room on the other side of the school and hang out with one of the best teachers ever. We spent time writing stories together and drawing pictures to go along with them. I remember all of the candy I got when I did a good job, and all of the special treatment I got from the teachers. To this day, I still have one of the first stories I wrote. It was about my mother going to the store and buying a baseball bat for me. Other than the fact that my handwriting was illegible and my picture made my mom look like a cow, I think I did a pretty darn good job. The fact that I was in special-ed reading in elementary school kind of makes me feel like I was a failure as a child, but the more that I think about the times I had in that class, the more thankful I am that I was “special”. Special-ed reading classes did me a lot of good. When I moved to the great state of Tennessee, I was advanced compared to the kids that were in my class. I accelerated to the schools best reader with the most A.R. points that I accumulated in only a few months’ time compared to the year that everyone else had. I read the entire Harry Potter series that was out in one semester, and then read them again when I moved schools. I read series after series after series all the way through my junior high years; and then came high school. Highschool ended my award winning reading record that I had kept on lock for such a long time. I got busy with band, football, studying for classes, girlfriends, and having a social life. I would read my required material, if that, and only put in as much effort as I needed to pass. The end of a world of endless opportunities collapsed down into nothing more than a pile of dust. To this day, I think about how dumb I must have been for my parents to allow me to go into special-ed reading. Sitting in a room with my own personal teacher who would help me make up stories about this that and the other. The more I think about it, though, the more I am

thankful that my parents cared enough to send me to the wonderful lady that turned me into the man I am today.

I would have to say that my strongest piece of writing was the literacy narrative. This essay made me look back on everything I have done since I was little that helped me learn to read and write. The essay went back in a chronological order and gave examples of contributions from each time period in my life. It followed a theme and ended by telling how the skills of reading and writing are still used to this day. My weakest essay would have to have been the memoir. When I wrote it, I started out with good details on what was happening. But as I continued to tell the story, I got vague with the descriptions. This left the readers wondering what was happening. I ended the story weak, by not giving the details of the fiery situation I was in. To make the story better, I could have added more details and pronouns. This would have kept the reader interested and kept the feeling of fear and excitement going through their heads.

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