You are on page 1of 4

Cheung 1 Maximilian Cheung Professor Leslie Wolcott ENC 1102 24 January 2014 Literacy Narrative: Defining Moments For

the majority of my lifetime, I believed literacy meant merely knowing how to read and write. Now, I have come to realize that literacy is not confined to such a simple definition. Literacy is much more than just knowing how to do a certain actions. Literacy is understanding how to function in a society. It provides us a way to see into the past and record what we have learned for the future. Knowing how to read and write is a crucial part of our history and society. I wonder how I became a literate person and who or what helped me along the way. Deborah Brandt describes sponsors as the people and institutions who help an individual achieve literacy through a give and take relationship (167). Not only are suitable sponsors essential in our development of literacy, but sponsors are integral in how we mature into the people we are today. The sponsorships of my teachers, as well as my elementary school itself, are irreplaceable parts in my literacy development. In second grade, Mrs. Carl, one of my most influential sponsors, gave me an assignment I will never forget. With a few pieces of paper and a stapler, my classmates and I were told to get to work on creating a book. I remember initially thinking, Man oh man, this is hard. Not only did I have to write an imaginative story, but I had to draw the right pictures that corresponded to my story. It took me hours to just come up with the right names for the characters. After finishing my long and arduous five paged book, I realized what Mrs. Carl wanted to teach me: writing a book is no easy feat. The assignment made me understand how much an author invests

Cheung 2 in their work and gave me a new found appreciation for books. Also, after we all completed our books, we put them together on a bookshelf and we were able to share each others work. The collection of books was like our very own personal library. I remember how eager I was to read each and every one of my classmates books because of the diligence I knew that went into every book. Thanks to Mrs. Carls creative and constructive project, that passion and eagerness for reading books still resides within me today. Every elementary school teacher needs to follow a certain curriculum imposed by the school, but are allowed some freedom in terms of what assignments they can give and I am happy they do. Otherwise, I might have never gained the appreciation I have for authors as I do now. I have long forgotten most of the names of my teachers from my pre-college academic career, but have never forgotten Mrs. Carl and the lesson she taught me. This fact alone displays how beneficial sponsors can be at an early age. Although teachers as sponsors may have the most direct interaction with students, the right school may also have a tremendous positive impact on its students. When I was in fifth grade, for instance, my elementary school had a program that allowed fifth graders help kindergarteners learn how to read. Zachary, my assigned kindergartener, and I would go to the library to read every day for half an hour. He would read for the most part and I would only interrupt him when he had trouble pronouncing a word. During the first few weeks, we could barely get through three pages each time we read together. I would constantly have to help him pronounce a few words in every sentence. Then he would always ask me to define a word that he didnt know, which at the time, seemed like every word. At the end of those first few sessions with him, I would constantly leave frustrated and irritated. But, I eventually realized that I needed to be more patient with him. I began to recall how limited my own vocabulary and reading skills were at his age. For the remainder of the reading sessions we had together, I was

Cheung 3 much more encouraging and tolerant with him. By the end of the year, he could read books at a second grade level. I was amazed at his progress and was ecstatic. It felt amazing to directly help others in read at a higher level. Through the program I was able to recognize the significance one person can have on another person. Not only did I help improve Zacharys reading skills, but Zachary helped me be more of a patience and understanding person. From that moment on, I was more enthusiastic than ever about learning. I became more attentive and receptive to the lessons my teachers gave me following elementary school; especially, when they involved English and literature because I understood the potential beneficial impact they can have on me. Luckily, I was enrolled into a school with a unique program which provided me with that experience. If I was enrolled in another institution, I may not have gained the knowledge and sense of responsibility I received from the program. Undoubtedly, we have numerous sponsors throughout the course of our lives. There are some which were more substantial than others. For me, they were Mrs. Carl and my elementary school. Not only were they invaluable sponsors of my literacy, they taught me that behind every creation is an individual who worked tirelessly to produce it. They taught me patience and that anyone can make a difference in another persons life. They ignited my passion for reading and eagerness to learn. Maybe one day Zachary will tell his children about his literacy narrative and how a fifth grader in his elementary school helped him read at a second grade level during kindergarten.

Cheung 4

Works Cited Brandt, D. Sponsors of Literacy. College Composition and Communication, 49.2 (1998): 165185. Web. 6 Jan. 2014.