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Amos 1 Victorian Amos ENGL 1101 September 24, 2013 Dr.

Jan Reiman

Literacy Through My Eyes

When I think back of my all my previous English classes I can actually hear the sounds of me crying in the background. I have never liked English. I cannot even remember a time that I have had an English class I enjoyed going to. However, when I learned that literacy was not just what I have been taught in class but what I have learned throughout my lifetime I was actually surprised. I realize that even though I did not like English all of my teachers were sponsors of my literacy. And not only teachers, but also my parents, coaches and peers as well. Elementary School Enlightenment If you were like me and watched the show School House Rock then you know that schools in actuality are just one big lie! There were no cool trains, talking bills, or even singing. However, I did have one teacher in fourth grade named Mrs. Carland. She is my earliest memory of literacy. We would sit in her classroom in alphabetical order and

Amos 2 everyday for like the first week we would sit on top of our desk and play the name and catch game (Rules: one student/person starts off with a ball and would throw it to someone else in the room. However, you could not throw it to them before saying their full name). Sooner or later we stopped playing the game and then we would all sit down and she would talk to us about the importance of reading and writing. After her spiel she pulled out a book and we were getting ready to read this short story called The Twits by Roald Dahl (till this day he is listed as one of my top five authors). And boy was he amazing! He made me laugh at his puns, think about his characters dilemmas, and question the ending or next turn. However the one thing he made me want more than anything else was more. More books, more stories, more puns and more reading time. I would spend my time going to the school library and do nothing except read his work. And although I could have bought these books I did not because I still did not love reading enough to spend that much money (my own money) when I could read for free at school. So naturally I would do a lot of my reading there. My teacher showed me that there are authors and books that can actually grab my interest and open my eyes to how influential words can be. And even though I only read books by Roald Dahl at the time it still made me want to read. Since then all throughout elementary and sixth grade of middle school I read every book he wrote (at least twice). I would read and read until I couldnt even hold a book anymore because of my fingers getting tired or stiff. And almost every time I did this I would see life through each character, discover new jokes and puns, and in an odd way he would show me how beautiful life is when you treat

Amos 3 people kindly. Mrs. Carland and Roald Dahl not only affected my literacy but my life as well. Middle School Meltdown Middle School. Where every child is trying to find his or herself and where they fit in. Yet here I am, finding myself nose pressed deep in the middle of a Bible. Dont misunderstand me now. I am a believer in God and I do attend church on a regular basis. However, here I am already stubborn as it is when it comes to reading regular children books and I have to read the Bible for an hour every homeroom (thanks for the private school mom and dad). At first I just sat there and looked at the text-filled pages before me, wondering why I had to be there and go through this. I would count down the time and make up imaginary games and situations in my head. But sooner or later, I realized that if I put the book in my lap and my head down it would look as if I was reading while I was taking a nap. (However, I think the teacher realized one time when my Bible was a little wet.) I even perfected this skill by flipping the pages every now and then when I heard footsteps or thought I was being watched. But after the reading and before the end of homeroom came our Christian pledge of allegiance. We had our right hand on the Bible and left hand in the air as if we were about to take the stand or be sworn into political office. Thank goodness though I only had to do this routine for one semester before my family moved to North Carolina. However, since I

Amos 4 have left private schools I have hardly ever read the Bible. Of course I still attend church, but being forced to sit in complete silence and read made me hate reading even more than I did before. And although I did not read, this is easily one of the most negative impacts on my literacy that I have ever experienced (which still is a sponsor of literacy in my opinion). High School Horror This is truly where my reading and writing literacy plummeted. No longer was I reading or writing pieces for creative learning or to pass time. I was being graded on them. Harshly. And what upsets me the most is that it I was never graded on what I wrote but HOW I wrote it. My piece could have been breathtakingly beautiful, and given as a speech at a presidents inauguration. However, none of that meant anything if you had grammatical errors, run-ons, and you did not indent each paragraph. I never realized how much this style of grading was actually crippling me until now. I remember I would be so upset and frustrated with my work because I could never get it to fit my teachers guidelines that I actually cried once. My teachers would say for the perfect essay I had to include at least the two or three topics I was going to address in my introduction paragraph. Each body paragraph had to be focused on one of my topics and I had to have a life experience, a book reference, and an emotional thought behind every line. I literally was being graded on what my essay included and not what it said. It frustrated me that I would write my heart out and hand in this beautiful essay on clean white paper then receive it back in so much red ink that it looked as if my paper was bleeding to death. Oh how angry I was! That is not what writing is supposed to be about. Before

Amos 5 high school my writing always came from my actual experiences but it also came from the heart. Now when I read or write I am in robot mode. I immediately pick my two topics and make sure my essay looks and replicates the very same ones I have done in high school out of fear of failing or disappointing the teacher. I not only let my high school literacy change me but it broke me and tamed me. My writing in high school changed from being a wild and beautiful stallion roaming the land to a horse eating hay out of its owners hand. But now I realize that my writing is nothing to be stressed over. Of course I still hate reading and writing. However, now I dont feel as if I will fail if I dont write to my teacher (or professors) standards. After graduating high school I was excited to not only be done with the teachers, but with their style of essays as well. But still I could see that my thoughts on reading were changing because of the authors I read before. However, when it came to the books for English I still dislike it. Confusin College Cruisin College so far has been amazing and stressful at times. English is the only class where I have homework due every week. However, between: working, all-stars, other classes, and experiments English seems to not receive as much attention as it should. I am still nervous about the change in grades in this class only because I am somewhat in the dark about what my grades are. But, for once in my life I feel confidence in my writing. I now know (at least in this class) that my writing is

Amos 6 not how I am writing but what I am saying. It feels as if some one took the mute button off of my writing. But, I wonder if that is how most professors feel of if it is just this class in particular. It is still too early for me to tell my thoughts or experiences about this life only because I am still getting use to it and have yet to dive completely in. Although, I still (and dont think I ever will) do not like reading or writing. I still have books by authors that I cannot seem to pry from my hands however it still just does not interest me. Most of the time when I am writing I do not write my complete thoughts or even my true emotions because I feel as if my reader is judging me. I think that this thought comes from my teachers judging or critiquing my writing in school. And I would have much rather have left out a few words and change my meaning than have to answer for it when my paper comes back. Teachers dont think about the effects of their writing. My entire school life I tried to avoid the school side of my literacy by doing the bare minimum to get an A. I would write bland and generic papers. No emotion, no Is (which were highly frowned upon if you wrote using Is) and no real personal feelings. Frighten Future I can only imagine how writing will be in the future. All of the essays I will have to do, the bookwork Ill have to read, the late nights Ill have. I am definitely not looking forward to any of that. However, if writing goes the way that it is now (as far as me being able to express myself) then I think I will actually enjoy it. I definitely see why people enjoy writing because it lets me put all of my thoughts on paper in an organized way. But I still feel my emotional scars burn whenever a teacher brings up reading or

Amos 7 writing. It may take a few more years before I start to truly enjoy it enough to do it on my own. However, this class is a very big step in the right direction.

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Reflective Afterthought
This paper felt amazing! I was so happy to write this and it actually made sense to me. I feel as if it explains why I hated reading and writing however, now I see that it is not all that bad. I know at first it said that I was very unhappy with all of my reading and writing but after looking back on the amazing authors I have read and after being in this class it shows that I dont have to fit my writing into a certain box or frame. However, instead I can make it so my writing is just telling my story. I am not quite sure on how I am going to feel when I go back to essays (if I have to). But if this is the last English class I take I will be so happy for it to end of on an amazing foot. Also- I know that I will have to keep writing. I will never be ever to avoid it. However, it only bothers me when its for an English class.