A Journey to Literacy. A Personal Narrative Essay Example

We are all different. Our experiences are all our own and nobody's experiences are the same.

Experiences like where we are from shape what we wear, what our hobbies are, what we eat and most importantly, our education. Experiences that are made from how we were raised change what we believe in, how we treat others, our strengths in our personality and what we did as children to promote better reading and writing. My experiences growing up as a child shaped me to be the reader and writer that I am today. Why do some people love reading and some hate it? Why do some dread picking up a pencil to write a story and others cant put the pencil down? And how are some people lucky enough to absolutely love doing both? A literacy narrative is a popular way for students or writers to talk about their relationship with reading and writing. My literacy narrative will be different then all of yours because we all have experiences of our own.

How I Started Reading

Could how you started reading compared to how I started reading be the reason that you enjoy I don't? My relationship with reading isn't necessarily one to be proud of. I think that it is very sad that i am a person who doesn't have a book I strongly relate to and enjoy. I miss out on the intense conversations that people have about how a certain book has changed them or influenced them in such a strong way. I miss out on relating to a character and using my imagination to picture a good story. Growing up I had a very busy lifestyle. My parents and I were always out camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, or riding horses. I had very young parents who never included reading into our busy schedule. There was never time for me to sit down and try to read a book. I think that is why I never got good grades when it came to reading or english.

I was always the lowest level in all of my classes and reading was always a chore for me to do. For me, I would much rather listen to the book in the audio version or watch the movie or documentary. No matter how hard i tried to focus and read a good book, my mind was always somewhere else. I obviously had to learn to read in order to function as a human being. I might not have enjoyed every part of that process but it was done.

The process of learning how to read was very long and painful for the people around me. I started by reading the street signs and advertisements on my own while driving. This was hard because I only had a short few seconds to figure out what it said before the sign was gone and we were onto the next. After I got better with that I started to read the words off of cereal boxes in the morning before school. This was easier for me because it was usually funny stuff and things a 5 year old would be interested in. By the first grade is when I started to realize I was below average compared to all of the other kids in my class. I noticed I was getting placed in different reading groups then all of my friends because my words per minute was lower than theirs. This motivated me to become better so I did not stick out as the dumb one compared to all of my friends. Every bone in my body was made out of competitiveness. This sometimes was a bad thing, but in this case it was a great thing. I remember staying in during lunch recess to read and read and read to see how high I could get my words per minute, trying to get closer to my friends. This helped a lot. When my reading level got to a point where I could actually read a book on my own, I started reading Junie B. Jones. To me, these books were the funniest things in the entire world. My stepmother came into my life at this point and began to read to me as often as she could. Her mother, grandmother, and grandfather were all teachers and she believed strongly and beginning to read at a young age. All of these people became huge sponsors of my reading education. "Some literacy sponsors are organizers or institutions, such as a public school system or a major corporation, whose sponsorship affects large numbers of people." (Brandt 69) With these people being teachers and mothers I believe they were great literacy sponsors. Because of them I began to look forward to the nights she would read to me because I knew this would make me better. That love for reading didn't last very long but it at least taught me to read enough to make it through school. My relationship with reading today isn't as bad as it sounds. I don't necessarily love it, and I still think its a chore when I am forced to read something. However, if I find something I am truly interested in I have no trouble reading or writing about it.

My Relationship With Writing

My relationship with writing became much stronger than my relationship with reading was. I am not the writer to keep a journal or write down my day to day events. I am also not the writer to write stories or research papers on my own. The way I express myself and what i am thinking is through drawing. I keep a little sketch pad in my backpack or dorm room to sketch or write down phrases as they come to my mind. The reason I got into drawing and little sketches is because of my older cousin Josh. Josh is a phenomenal artist that went to art school but never took advantage of his talent. I began to sketch when thinking about him in hopes I would one day be as good as him, but i wouldn't waste the talent. One thing about writing that I would never enjoy doing is poems. I am truthfully not a very creative person and in my mind , poems take a lot of creativity. I was always very embarrassed of my poems because everyone else's were always better. As competitive as I was, I couldn't stand not being the best at something. This challenged me and made me a better writer in general. My favorite types of writing is argumentative essays. The reason for this is that I get to say my opinion with as many facts as I can find to support it without people interrupting me to tell me that i am wrong. I also get to hear other people's opinions either against mine or for mine, to better my knowledge about the subject. One of my favorite argumentative essays that I did was on guns. Of course at the time of this paper there was 2 shootings within a week. This gave me even more of a challenge to persuade the audience that what I was writing wasn't wrong. At first I was very nervous, but this became one of my favorite assignments throughout high school.

The reason my relationship with writing is so much stronger than my relationship with reading is because of my experiences while growing up. I believe that I started a form of writing when I was very young through pictures. My parents still have the pictures that I drew of my experiences growing up. For example, I drew a picture of my father and I on my favorite palomino horse Max. In the picture I labeled my dads name, my name, Maxes name and that he was a horse. From that point on my pictures become more detailed and included more descriptive words. The other way I began writing was writing messages and signing my name on birthday cards, mothers day cards, fathers day cards,, valentines day cards, and more. Shortly after that in the 3rd grade I was assigned a research paper on George Washington. This was my first big homework assignment and I was very intimidated. The paper had to be one page long, and include George Washington's wife's name, where he was born, what he accomplished, and how he died. As a 3rd grader this sounded like a lot and like it could never be done. Once I finally finished that I began to crave that feeling of accomplishing something I never thought I could do. That feeling made my next big assignment in 5th grade seem easy. This assignment was much longer and on something I had absolutely no interest in but after I finished I knew that there wasn't a single writing prompt out there I couldn't do. My writing experiences just got even more positive as I aged and my knowledge grew about writing. Throughout school all of my writing/english teachers were amazing and always kept me going. Even if my papers completely sucked at first they always taught me how to make it better.

Summing Up

Our experiences growing up not only made us who we are today, but they created a new sense of ourselves as readers and writers. My experiences with reading haven't always been positive growing up and that might be why I don't necessarily love reading. However, my experiences with writing couldn't have gone better and now I would much rather do a writing assignment than any other type of homework. Our experiences make us confident in some areas and less confident in others. Our experiences is what makes us different. If we were all good at writing, what would make some writing better than others? If we all had the same experiences what would make my literacy narrative different from yours? My experiences are special to me and your experiences are special to you and reading and writing are good ways to show that.


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