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My start with literacy begin a little differently than a lot of the stories we read about for our discussions, but it gave me material to compare my experiences too. For example, just like Malcolm XI did not start off with an interest in reading, but developed one after I got older. As for writing I have never liked nor have I been interested in writing, the reason for this would probably be because of how I was taught to write in school.
An instance would be having to write everything exactly how | was taught from that particular teacher, which sometimes varied from year to year when I moved on from grade to grade. Another big part of the development of my reading and writing would have to be my personal literacy sponsors, which has a very big impact on me developing my reading and writing skills as I got older. The way that I would describe my literacy process would probably be a love or hate relationship because the process I learned about reading and writing, and the influence of some of my literacy sponsors.
Out of reading and writing, reading would definitely be the love in my love/hate relationship with literacy. As stated above, I begin developing an interest in reading as I got older, in about middle school. Before that I did not like when my parents read to me before bedtime when I was a little kid. Also in elementary school for homework we always had to read for at least thirty minutes each day, and I remember trying to lie about doing the reading and my parents forcing me to sit down and read.
As I got older my teachers allowed the students to start choosing what we wanted to read instead of forcing us to read a particular book. There were also various computer programs and games that pertained to reading that I got to play in class. For example the game Leap Frog, which I got to play at least once a week in class. This is when I finally started to become more interested in reading. I started to go to the school library by myself instead of just with the class, and I remember some weekends I would ask my parents to take me to the public library or the bookstore. Also for Christmas instead of only asking for toys I began to ask for book series. Even though I now enjoy reading I still do not like one style of writing which would be non-fictional writing. I would even say that every book that I have read voluntarily was a fiction book.
Which now brings me to the hate in the love/hate relationship with literacy. My process with writing has been completely different than with reading. I have never enjoyed writing anything, like poetry or essays. For me writing is something that takes a lot of effort and time, which I do not like. Even now developing each paragraph and sticking to a topic is hard for me. Also when I was growing many of my teachers always wanted us students to start off with an outline or to brainstorm and write topics before we even began writing the actual paper. This caused a problem for me because my style of writing is to just write whatever comes to my head and to develop the topics and thoughts as I write; which then caused a problem with the teacher because I was not following the proper steps in writing, because as my teacher said without an outline you cannot write a proper essay or story. This is one of the reasons that I think that I started to develop a dislike to writing. Another reason would also be that you are forced to write while in school on various topics that do not mean particularly anything to me. I remember in elementary school on our report cards we had several sections like math, science, social studies, reading, and writing; on every single report card except one I would have all As, but one B which was in writing. With writing I can relate to Victor Villanueva because just like him I felt that I tried hard, but was not getting the grades that I wanted, which contributed to my dislike of writing.
I was offered many literacy sponsors in my life. The biggest literacy sponsors in my life would have to be my parents. The reason that they are the biggest, would have to be because of the influence that they had on my reading and writing. For example they made sure that every day in elementary school that I did some form of reading and writing at home; this also being in the form of drawing, as mentioned in Draw Me a Word, Write Me a Picture. At home there was always books on our bookshelf or a computer when I and my brothers needed it for research. I not only had literacy sponsors at home, but also at every school that I attended when growing up. At school there was always a library with various reading levels of books, and a computer area for students to use if they did not have one in their home. Each classroom also had a reading area for students, a back table for the students to go to have extra time with the teacher if they were having problems with any of the reading or writing in class. There was about three or four computers that my classmates and I used on rotation throughout the school year, just in case the library was not available for use. The last sponsor that I remember having is the public library. No matter where I lived my parents always had a library cards for the whole family to use when needed, for like a research paper or just for fun.
Literacy sponsors do not always have a positive effect on a student. In my case, this is why I feel the way I do about writing. Such as, my teachers were some big literacy sponsors in my life because aside from my parents I seen them five days out of the week. And in school teachers wanted me to follow their rules and tips for writing. When I wrote a paper I remember always getting it back from a teacher, and there being red marks telling me to rewrite something, take this out, or them telling me to change something that they did not agree with. This lead me to start to become annoyed with writing because I had to make sure that I did everything that my teacher wanted me to do, even though my teachers said that no one can tell a writer how or what to write, but that was exactly what they were doing to me. The topics that were giving by teachers were ones that did not matter to me at all or that I had no interest in, but they said to be a good writer you should be able to write about any and every thing.
I do agree with that statement, although as an elementary and middle school kid I could have honestly cared less. Me being forced by a big literacy sponsor in life to do something that they knew hated doing, had a negative influence on how I write now and how I feel about putting effort in doing it. Maybe if there would have been other ways of teaching me how to write in school I would have shown more effort and interest. As in being able to doodle then writing a few sentences about it or using an online program. If the writing topics were different or if there were different ways to teach me how to write, things may have turned out differently. If I was growing up now I would probably feel different about writing because of the resources that are now available and being used in classrooms.
There are many factors that influenced my reading and writing as I was growing up that made me start to enjoy reading a lot more than I ever thought that I would, but also created the opposite effect with writing. The thing that I learned from the passages that I read and wrote discussion questions on is that I may develop an interest when I get a little older and have different sponsors around me. For example, Malcolm X did not develop his interest and joy of reading until he was in jail and wanted the people he looked up to, to be able to understand how he felt and to be able to exchange his thoughts in writing. With that being said right now I have a higher value of what I am reading, than I do about anything that I am writing. The reason being because there are too many rules to writing, unlike reading a book.
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