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Alex Barlow Ms.

Caruso ENGL 1103 21 August 2012

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Literacy Memoir Unraveling a childhood filled with knowledge and experience is something extraordinary. As a child, we start our education by either entering pre-kindergarten or going straight into kindergarten. I started my long journey towards bettering my education in kindergarten. My passion for reading and writing began in this class. I was in a normal kindergarten class with Mrs. Williams. She started teaching us the alphabet on the first day of class in a very fun and enjoyable way. She allowed someone to bring home a stuffed Curious George every weekend, and at the end of the year, she picked me to take him home permanently. He sparked a fire buried deep inside, which resulted in me becoming hooked on reading and writing. Later on I was introduced into poetry; something completely unnatural to what I had became so accustomed to. It was astonishing to know that with just a few lines, I could say so much. I started to learn how to rhyme and quickly found out how enjoyable it was. Unfortunately, my teacher busted my bubble of becoming a poet when she said that in order for me to be a poet, I had to do more than just rhyme. By the end of fifth grade year, I thought I was a pro. I could write a page paper easily. After elementary school was over, middle school became a bit tougher on me. My teachers began telling me I had to write longer, smarter, and harder essays. As a young child, I found this very difficult to motivate myself enough to write more than a paragraph at a time. Everything became harder very quickly and I wasnt sure I was going to be able to keep going.

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My 7th grade English teacher started teaching us how to write longer papers without repeating ourselves. She had so many different ways of telling us what we could write about and how we could keep motivated. After middle school, there was the dreaded high school. In my first everEnglish class, we had the biggest project ever. Mrs. Truell told us we had to make a book all about us. Also, in the book we had to have several different pieces of writing. I was taught what MLA formatting is, how to be proper with my writing, and also how to reflect my personality in it. I learned that hard work pays off when writing. After Mrs. Truells class, it was off to Mrs. Pks class. She stressed reading every book available and getting the most out of everything we read. She made us write papers about how we felt on the book and what we gained as a person from reading and writing the paper. She loved grammar and felt that every paper should be grammatically correct to be top notch. Her husband, my 11th grade English teacher, was exactly the opposite. Mr. Pk was one of the best teachers I have ever had. He worked his butt off to help each and every one of us succeed and become a confident writer. We had poetry days, essay days, and free read days. Each day he showed us a different view for writing, which in turn sparked hundreds of abandoned flames for writing. He hated grammar and felt that the content of a paper was more important than the punctuation. He made writing fun and made us work hard for poetry, which was his favorite form of writing. I started to learn what it was like to love something that you create. I fell in love with writing poems and created many pieces that I actually loved. We had to write a paper on a topic of our choice and my topic was childhood obesity, which ended up being one of the most enjoyable papers I have ever wrote. I put many long hours onto that paper, but it turned out amazing. The most negative thing that has ever impacted my writing was when I had a friend read over my paper and she told me it sounded like a five year old wrote it and that I needed to reconsider what I was talking about. I had never had

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someone be such a tough critic on me before, and this was a huge shock to me. I rewrote that paper six times before I asked her to read it again. She told me that it sounded better and that was as good as it was going to get. I submitted my paper to the teacher with teardrops on it and I told him that I was sorry if I disappointed him when he read my paper. When he returned my paper to me it had a grade of a 99 and he said it was the best paper he had read in a long time. It made me feel good that I could actually write something well. I believe that in order to be a decent writer, you have to have passion. Ive read awesome stories before, but what they have lacked is a passion for their topic. The greatest thing I love about writing is pouring my heart into something that I create. If Im not into writing a paper, my words reflect upon it. The hardest part about writing a paper for me is trying to find my starting point. Once Im over the initial starting point, its all down hill from there. I am not a planner. So, when my teacher would make us plan our papers by making a chart or writing down ideas, I would blank out. In my mind, I just have to activate that switch in my brain that starts the reaction of writing. After I think I am done with my paper, I start with my introduction. If it sounds good, I move onto my conclusion. I do this because its the first and last thing on my paper that the reader reads. If they arent interesting, they wont remember a single thing about what they read. In most of my papers, the main thing I need to change is how frequently I use the word I. Some papers you are not allowed to be personal and it makes it very tough for me not to add those types of words. This semester, I am mostly worried about my lack of confidence in my writing and with how much time I have to write them. The best thing about this class though is that I can write in MLA format. All of my other classes are requiring APA and I have no clue how to even begin to write a paper in that kind of style. Luckily, all of my teachers stressed me out so much, that I finally sucked it up and learned how to correctly use MLA. One thing I dont

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like is that if I dont have a sufficient amount of time to write my papers, I get stressed out and I start to write a bunch of nonsense. I need time to think about what I am writing and how I am going to compose the greatest paper I can. In college, I fear Im going to be so stressed about trying to make it right, that Im going to forget the basics. English isnt my favorite subject, but it definitely is not my least favorite. I hope that this class enlightens me to keep trying to become the best writer ever. Im kind of nervous that I wont be able to keep up with the fast pace of all my classes. In high school, everything was easy, that isnt the case for me here. My college years are going to be tough, but hopefully I will have some of the best academic and social experiences of my life. I am looking forward to this English class and gaining valuable writing skills for upper level classes. Maybe ten years from now I can look back and think about how much fun the class was and how much knowledge I gained by attending the class. I hope that I can make the best of this class and push myself enough to earn an A in the course. English is a tough subject to learn, but Im sure this class will make it much more bearable.

9 Responding to 15 Ms. Caruso English 1103 25 August 2012

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Literacy Memoir Response As I was reading your memoir, a few things were directly obvious to me as I read. I

can tell that you put some serious thought into this paper because of the way you expressed your feelings very clearly. However, one thing really threw me off. Im not exactly sure how your approach to writing is. I can tell that you have an overall master narrative, with sections that are considered to be a little narrative. I could also tell that you started off by taking the victims approach to your writing but by the end of the paper it evolved into a success narrative. The way you wrote your paper is very direct and to the point. Some parts of it I could tell you enjoyed writing more about it, because of the abundance of details that supported the idea. For instance, I can tell that you favor reading over writing by just looking at the amount of detail you have in the paragraph that talks about reading. The few paragraphs that talk about writing are much more bland and direct. Which is okay, I would just like to know more. There has to be some paper, or poem, that you are so proud of. It would help if I were able to know what this paper was about, or what inspired you to write the poems you wrote as a child. You spoke of how you knew Russian. It has to be much more of a challenge to speak two languages than just one. You couldve spoken about how being bilingual challenges/benefits you as a writer. A few more things I noticed about your memoir, I loved how you talked about your

AP English class benefitting you, although you had complications along the way. This shows

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me that you are dedicated and can keep up, even when you are challenged. The one thing I believe you should focus more on this semester is putting passion into your work. You gave me a slight peek into what makes you a writer, but there is no flame behind it. I want you to be able to completely overwhelm someone with emotion when they are reading your work. You have the ability to develop your writing into something magnificent with just a little more effort. This paper was great and if you can just stay focused and add a more sentiment value to what you are expressing onto the paper, you can develop into a more professional writer. Good luck with your future writings!

9 Responding to 9 Ms. Caruso English 1103 25 August 2012

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Literacy Memoir Response After reading this memoir I found a few things that could be corrected and a few

things that were very noticeable. It was very profound that the memoir was a little narrative. Everything was explained in detail and with some amount of character. I got to know the writer from kindergarten and learned about her experiences on after. Something that I did notice was how the writers attention sort of strayed after the first few pages. The one thing I think this writer should work on more throughout the semester is trying to keep focused as she is writing. It seemed as if her starting point was good, but after, she sort of drifted off topic. I believe she took a success point of view on her paper. She seemed confident, which can sometimes hinder learning. If she isnt open to suggestions, there is no room for improvement. I liked how she told me what started her literacy history, but didnt give a specific end. I think that with a little help and openness, this writer can better herself as a writer and be more capable of composing better quality pieces of writing. I do believe that this writer is a little too confident and needs to take a step back and realize that she can do better. The writers tone is another thing I wanted to talk about. I liked how she is very

assertive with what she is writing about, but also how she gives very personal details about her experiences. Its as if I was actually there and I get a mental picture about what happened, just by reading her paper. She seems kind of closed-minded when it comes to

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changing her writing, but also she knows that she can do better. The last thing that I want to say about her paper is that when she started to stray off topic towards the end, so did her outlook on college and her future. I just wanted to tell her that this class would better her writing and make her more confident if she just works at it and doesnt give up. Anyone can learn to read and write, but it takes time and practice to perfect it. No, no one will ever be the perfect writer, but we can always have high standards for ourselves.

Alex Barlow Ms. Caruso English 1103 28 August 2012

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My Final Literacy Paper The introduction has always been the most difficult thing for me to start when

writing a paper. From the first time I picked up a pencil to this very second, I am still working hard to perfect my writing. Everyone has their own personal way of writing, mine just happens to be the right fit for me. In order for me to produce a good quality paper, I have to be comfortable and peaceful. When I am able to really concentrate on my writing, thats when I produce my greatest work. I believe that anyone can be a writer; they just have to dig deep in order to find it in themselves. Writing is something very personal and rewarding if done in the correct way. Everyones literacy history is different, which shapes how he or she views writing. If a bad experience occurs to a writer, it can severely hinder the way they continue to write. Along the same lines, if a writer has many positive experiences, they are more likely to produce greater pieces and continue to love what they write. After reading my literacy memoir what seems like a thousand times, reading my response to myself, and the other persons response to me over and over again, I am still struggling to fix my view on it. The person who reviewed my paper had no insight on it whatsoever. I know I am not the perfect writer and I have room for improvement. It seemed as if they just read my paper and said, Hey, good job. Keep up the good work. Thats not what I wanted. I put my heart and soul into my paper and in return I received a

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blunt, quick response. Unfortunately, I have very little to consider after reading their response to me, but I do have some things that I came up with on my own. A lot of which arose when our class discussions sparked new ideas in my brain. My analysis of my own memoir was quite vicious. I was a very tough critic on myself

and slashed my paper with harsh words and advice. To me, this makes me a better writer. The harder I am on myself, the angrier I get and it makes me that much more determined to fix whats wrong. My literacy memoir was a paper that took a considerable amount of time to write. No I did not go back and edited my paper a hundred times, but I did think about what I was writing and reconsider if it actually made sense. I dont like to plan what I write, because I feel like it hinders my ideas. I feel as if I write down my ideas, I wont add new ones into my writing when they pop into my brain. The tone of my response was harsh, but it also showed that I was detailed enough to explain to an outside reader how greatly writing has effected me. I clearly stated specific events that stand out in my memory. In the paper that I read of someone elses, this wasnt the case. Some new ideas I gained by reading another students paper was the thought of how

a bi-lingual student could have very different experiences than a native speaker. For instance, I have only been taught English as a language. Yes, I have been in a few Spanish classes, but nothing has ever really stuck in my memory. I dont know how to write a page length paper entirely in Spanish. I do good to even compose a complete sentence. However, my persons life involved knowing two languages completely all at one time. She is bi- lingual and I cant even begin to imagine how that could complicate writing. I though about how easy I had it made and how I take for granted being a native English speaker. She did not go into very much detail about speaking Russian, but I know there has to be times

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where she gets confused or frustrated. It made me consider that some people have to work even harder to be in an upper level class than others. I understand we are all different, but some people have it worse than others. Also, to some people, their literacy history can be much more complicated and diverse than mine. I always believed that I have had an amazing learning experience thus far in my learning career, but after reading her paper, I feel as if some have had a much more exciting history. One thing I wanted to change about my paper is how much I talked about being

apprehensive about college. I know I had to bore the poor soul to death as they read my drag on and on about how I was scared I was going to fail a class. If I could just delete all that, I believe I would have had a much better paper. I am nervous about how stressful college can get, but after completing a paper every night for homework, Im starting to see that maybe it is possible for me to get everything accomplished on time. My memoir is very personal, but I feel as if that were to be edited out of my paper, it would have been more uplifting. After the discussion the other day in class, I have considered the idea of me being a

writer. I have considered what I believe a writer is, and what society believes a writer is. By definition, I am a writer, but by personal belief, I am not. To me, a writer is someone who makes little mistakes and always composes works of art. Maybe they do have their moments of misfortune, but they always overcome it. However, I am working on my view of a writer. I am starting to see myself as a better writer and liking my papers more and more. Hopefully by the end of the semester I will be more confident in my writing and be better able to focus on how I am writing. I believe in order for me to see myself as a writer, I need more people to tell me what I am doing wrong, and not what I am doing right. I want

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to improve my writing and not hear so much about how well I am writing. I believe in order for me to really consider myself as a writer, I need to make a good grade on a paper from a really tough professor. If I can make a professor, who grades very strictly, amazed by my writing it would be a huge accomplishment and tremendously boost my confidence in my writing. I know that those are high standards, but if I set them any lower, I wont achieve my goals.