Throughout my childhood, the idea of having a college education was greatly stressed. As a result, it was my duty as the next generational child, to excel in my studies and achieve a life of prosperity and success. Learning became the basic foundation of my growth. Therefore, my youth was overtaken by many hours spent reading and writing what was known to be correct “Standard” English. I first found this to be a great shortcoming, but as I grew older, I began to realize the many rewards acquired by having the ability to be literate.
During adolescence, I began reading and writing through a fundamental learning program called, “Hooked on Phonics. ” This program consisted of long hours spent reading short novels and writing elementary phrases which were commonly taught in the second and third grade. With the motto, “Improve your child’s reading and writing skills in just four weeks! ” I was bound to become the next Mark Twain. The method of this course specialized in the improvements of word acquisition rates as well as reading speed; however, it lacked in the area of teaching comprehension.
At a young age, I was instilled with the dire need to be highly educated and although I was unable to experience a fun and adventurous childhood like many other children, I am grateful for being raised with a greater knowledge and wisdom than that ingrained in many. From my past experiences, I have grown to prefer reading over writing. When I am reading, I can visualize the text in any way that I see fit. It is almost as if I am rewriting the novel using the illusions that I feel express the words in a passage.
For example, in the current independent novel I am reading, it portrays a woman of high stature who is able to lure men in, like a hunter does its prey, and feed on their weaknesses. When I am reading this phrase I automatically visualize a fisherman trying to catch a fish using his worms as bait. Although this illustration has no reference to the novel, it is the picture that I chose to use, depicting the woman and her way of getting what she wants. As the audience, I have control over what I am reading and can express myself in any way that I would like, without having to worry about what society thinks of my views and opinions.
Unlike reading, when writing, it is important that grammar, spelling and vocabulary terms are used correctly, therefore restricting me from writing in the way that I would prefer. The most stressed phrase while in high school was, “It is not the content of the essay, but rather the mechanics of grammar and speech that are most prominent. ” Unfortunately, I have never been one to enjoy the art of writing. In fact, I was recently given a diagnostic test, determining at which level I write and whether or not I should be upgraded to a higher achieving English class.
Unfortunately, I did not pass the test with flying colors. This was not due to the fact that I am incapable of writing a good paper, but rather that I am unable to write in a limited amount of time, using the emphasized principles of correct; grammar, vocabulary and spelling. In the reading, Shitty First Drafts, by author Anne Lamott, it is a fact that in order to write a brilliant paper, a first draft must be created. According to Lamott, “The Only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts, all writers write them.
” (94) This is a quote in which I can relate being that in order for me to begin a final draft, I must first have written a first draft, usually one that is in absolute disarray. From here I can begin my journey into the final essay. This is one reason why my diagnostic writing was so disorganized; I didn’t prepare any sort of rough draft to guide me through the writing processes, which inevitably lead to my remaining semester in Writing 01 instead of Writing 10. Writing is an area that requires much preparation and efficiency, ultimately resulting in my reluctance to write just for the heck of it.
Overall, writing is too complex! It is rather important to be well-rounded in the aspects of reading and writing. Our country is built on the belief that English is one of the greatest languages of the world and without it anything properly called “thought” is impossible. Although there are many types of different cultures in America, in order for us to communicate, it is greatly emphasized that we all have the ability to speak and write in the same language. For instance, if I were to visit a foreign country, it would be to my benefit to speak the same language as others.
This same principle is being stressed in America today. As foreigners migrate to America, they have an obligation to learn the culture, speech and skill, learned by other American citizens and use them to their own advantage as a mean to get ahead in life. It has become a proven fact that in order to succeed in America-with a number of relatively minor although often highly visible exceptions-it is important to speak, read, and understand English as most Americans speak it. It is also a fact that people who don’t learn to speak
“Standard” English have a much more difficult time achieving job and career success. An example of this theory is found in the short story titled, “Talking in the New Land,” by Edite Cunha. Edite and her family are a valid example of how, speaking one language which is culturally different than that of the common language can be a disadvantage in the long run. Throughout the story Edite and her family struggled to communicate because they had no knowledge of how to convey their issues to others. According to Edite, “I looked at her blankly, not knowing what to say.
What was a Social Security number? ” (549) As a result, her father was unable to collect on his unemployment and they failed to pay their rent. This is largely due to their inability to speak the English language. In any event, Edite had no choice other than to begin her lessons in learning “Standard” English for the sake of her and her family. The American language, commonly referred to as “Standard” English, is one of the most widespread languages in the world and therefore has become a tool that can help people of different backgrounds communicate with one another.
It bestows a power that is almost invaluable, a power which allows us to have our own views, opinions and preferences. It gives us the freedom of speech, (The First Amendment) which inevitably allows us to express our ideas and thoughts in every fashion possible, without having to gain permission from the rest of society. There are many connections between my reading experience and the power of language. I am given the power to read in the privacy of my own home without the interruptions of others.
Therefore, I am able to read aloud and gain an understanding of the text, without having an audience to critique my reading skills. I am given the power to express my opinions and views without having to debate why I had that sort of reaction to the reading. Lastly, I can read at my own pace. I have no obligation to read speedily in order to seem as though I have no complications with the words in the text. In my opinion, people should be given the right to speak and read in any language that they wish.
Although, it may benefit them to be knowledgeable in the speech that is being taught and spoken in the common country, everyone has their own cultural background and each has the right to be literate in the way that they desire. They were given the right to freedom of speech through the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and therefore, have the right to speak in their own native language. Literacy plays a major role in the lives of humans today. It gives us the power to read, speak and write and is therefore a valuable asset to society and the development of its economy.
Courtney from Study Moose
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