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My Journey with Literacy

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My Journey with Literacy essay
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For me, the definition of literacy has grown and changed throughout the years. I viewed literacy as merely the ability to read and write; however, over time I began to realize that literacy is a complex process that involves deciphering and finding meaning in a piece of text. Like many American children, I was formally acquainted with literacy through Dr. Seuss. In my journey, there was a life before Green Eggs & Ham and a life after. From being in Preschool, living in Utah, and finally returning to Las Vegas after my parents had gotten back together. Crossing the threshold of literacy was the first step on a journey that I would continue to be on.

My earliest memory of literacy was when I was spending time with my mother reading various books ranging from Green Eggs & Ham to the Book of Mormon. I enjoyed these books, but I valued more the special moments that I shared with my mother as we read. I don’t remember much from our reading sessions, but I’m certain that I was captivated by the funny pictures in Green Eggs & Ham and in awe of some of the stories in The Book of Mormon. For these reasons, I can infer from the impressions that each book had on me as the start of my interest in becoming literate.

This brings me to when I was in Elementary School. I spent a lot of time in school, as well as watching a lot of T. V. and hanging out with my friends. Like everyone else I learned the alphabet, how to pronounce each letter, using what I’ve learned to form words, finally to learning how to write sentences. Phrases like “the sky is blue” and “the sun is yellow” were commonplace. This introduction/development of my literacy was furthered by my readings at home. My mother throughout my childhood was a stickler in ensuring that I remained on top of my studies. This, in my opinion, has molded me into becoming the person that I am: responsible and a drive for success. Moreover, this was further exacerbated as I grew up in a Mormon household where my family would read the scriptures on a daily basis. Many of the passages were not easy reading either as it required readers to dig deeper to find the hidden meaning behind the passage. Despite my Mormon upbringing, now as a gay man, I find myself questioning and challenging the very same texts that have helped me with my literacy.

Throughout Middle School and High School, I read a few of the “Literary rite of passage” books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Dante’s Inferno, and the Scarlet Letter. Although I appreciated reading, I did not enjoy the various assignments and essays that would ensue each book. During this time I also had English teachers who were keen on ensuring that I knew how to write persuasively. They placed an emphasis on grammar, which I found to be annoying. However, I realized that grammar is not something that is learned, but rather as something that gradually develops with experience.

Literacy was further ingrained in me especially during High School. As a student who attended an academically challenging magnet school, I felt compelled to take part in the strict regimen of taking all honors and AP classes. This was the case in AP English and AP Literature where we were taught how to critically write a poem or essay, as well as how to dissect a passage and form an analysis when reading. One of my fond memories was when I was learning how to dissect a passage in AP English. In learning how to identify the various rhetorical devices, there is no set formula, or as Mr. Foster puts it: “it’s like finding Waldo, you just know. ” That sentence struck me as it drove in the fact that the key to identifying a rhetorical device is not a formula, but rather using one’s own knowledge and intuition to identify the device.

Now as a college student currently majoring in Biochemistry, I fully appreciate my experiences with literacy. I know that my experiences will aid me in writing the countless inevitable lab reports and theses. Moreover, my experience will (not trying to sound boastful) help to give me an academic edge as I complete this English class and my degree in general. All in all, my experiences with literacy emanated from my will to be better at it, to grow and become a better version of myself. “Where did I get this desire,” you ask. Well, I got it from the various examples that were and are apart of my life. I came from an educated family, came from a school that strongly valued academic success, and my intrinsic drive to be successful. All of these factors have not only shaped me into the reader and writer that I am today but as well as the man that I am.

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