Literacy Narrative



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Chris Phelps


Literacy Narrative
What does the word “literacy” actually mean? Literacy is defined as “the ability to read and write.” This is exactly how I would define literacy too. Just like everyone in the world, I also have had a very long and exciting literacy life. My literacy life started when I was a little baby and is continuing on now with this essay. Literacy is a very important aspect in everyone’s life, and it definitely is a helpful the more you learn about it.

My literacy life began when I was a little kid. I can’t remember all the way back to when I was a baby for obvious reasons, but one of the first things I do remember learning from when I was a kid is, in my opinion, one of the most important things you can ever learn, and that is the Alphabet. Not only do I remember learning the alphabet by singing it in preschool and kindergarten, but I remember learning how to write it too. Learning how to write the alphabet is just as important, if not more important, as just knowing the alphabet. Knowing the alphabet and how to write it is important because the alphabet is the basics of every single word in the dictionary. Without the alphabet, people would be mumbling random stuff and not know what anything means. The alphabet gives everything a meaning and connects things to other things.

Learning the alphabet would lead up to me being able to pronounce words correctly. Of course, I started off with smaller words such as dog, cat, mom, and dad. Learning all these little words started me off with what is called reading. Every time I learned how to read a knew word, I would get so excited because just the thought of being able to read more made me happy. I knew I was getting smarter and I was so proud of myself. I went from reading smaller words to reading bigger words, and this all led up to me reading my first books series by myself. Even though my parents read to me just about every night, it felt great to know that I didn’t need my parents to read to me anymore. The first chapter series I ever read when I was young was Captain Underpants. There were at least five books in this series and it took me a couple weeks to read all of these books, but I did it and I was the happiest little kid on earth.

The next step in my literacy life is that I learned how to read and write in cursive. This helped me a lot in my life because the only way my parents write is in cursive and I could never read what they wrote down until second grade, which we learned cursive. I do not write cursive myself, I still write in print, but now I can read my parents writing which is very helpful. Also in the second grade, we did contests each week to see who was the best reader. Every week, each person would read a paragraph from the textbook, and our teacher would give us a grade based on how well we read, how fast we read, and how we pronounced each word. This was a good way to improve our reading because it motivated everyone in the class to become a better reader because everyone wanted to be number one on the teachers list. I never reached number one, but I was constantly in the top five for my class.

The next big step in my literacy life would be essays. Essays have been around for the most of my life. I absolutely cannot stand essays. Ever since I wrote my first essay I have always hated it. Even though I hated it, I have always known that it will be very helpful for my future because it is a great way to improve writing for maybe your job resume or something like that in the future. Most essays that I have had to do have been teacher chosen topics such as an essay about a book we read or an essay about responsibility. Teacher picked topics like that not only made me not enjoy writing even more, but it also made me not very good at writing because I didn’t know what to write about.

So up to seventh grade, just about every essay I had written was based on a teacher chosen topic. But then that special day came, when the teacher finally let us write about what we wanted. No, it wasn’t whatever we wanted to write about, but we were supposed to write about a fun event that happened in my life. I chose to write about a football game I had just gone to that weekend. It was a Wake Forest game and they were playing Maryland. I had grown up a huge Wake Forest fan, and even though they suck now, I am still sticking with them to the end. This game was and still is the best game I had ever been to for not only football, but for all sports. I really enjoyed writing about this because it was just such an exciting game. Wake Forest was down by 20 points with three minutes left in the third quarter and they came back and won the game. The momentum for their comeback started with a 100 yard interception for a touchdown by my all time favorite Wake Forest player, Alphonso Smith.

If you couldn’t tell, I do still enjoy writing and talking about this game. The essay that I had written was in my opinion the best essay I had ever written because I enjoyed writing it and I had so much to say about this event. I never really had good grades when it came to writing until I turned this essay in. I finally had gotten the 100 on an essay that I had always dreamed of. This definitely boosted my confidence for when it came to writing.

Learning vocabulary has been a huge part of my life. Ever since first grade, my classes have had a vocabulary list that we had to look over and take a quiz on within the next few days. I have never had the strongest vocabulary, so learning new words really helped me. Each year, the word we had to look over got more difficult, but I have always been good at memorizing definitions of words. So I would always look over the words the night before the quiz. Usually I would get an A or B on the quizzes. The only problem with my vocabulary though is that I remembered the words for the quizzes, but after the quizzes I would always forget each word, so when I heard that word again, I wouldn’t know what it means. I don’t know why it is like this for me, but I am in college now so I guess it didn’t affect me too much.

When I went into High School, my literacy life went into a language that wasn’t English. I had signed up for Spanish my first semester of high school. Now, I took Spanish in elementary school like once every two weeks, so I knew that basics of Spanish like colors and numbers. But taking a Spanish class in high school was a challenge. It is so different learning a new language. I was still having a little trouble learning and remembering new words in English, and now I was being thrown into starting a whole new language. It was like I was starting over with my speaking.

Once I started getting into Spanish, I ended up being pretty good at it. Conjugating is definitely one of the most important parts of Spanish and once I got that down, it was smooth sailing from there. Because I was so good at remembering words and there definitions for the quizzes or tests, I would always get good grades on the tests. But of course, now that I am no longer in Spanish, I can hardly remember any of the words I learned in those classes.

Another event in my life that was important to my literacy life was the SAT. The SAT made me study reading and writing like I never had before. It not only made me learn many new vocabulary words that I had never heard of, but it also made me learn better ways to read a article so I can summarize it better and understand it more. The SAT also made me learn a new way to write an essay. The first two SAT’s I took weren’t my best. I did excellent in math, but it was the reading and writing that brought my score down a lot. Instead of getting something better, I only got a 1640 on both my first two scores. I would of gotten much lower if it weren’t for my math score. So for my third and final SAT try, we hired a tutor to help me with my reading and writing. This is where most of what I learned about reading and writing came. My tutor made me read multiple articles each visit and made me answer questions about it. She also made me write one essay each visit too. When she graded my answers and essays at first, of course they were bad. She would always ask me why I chose a certain answer that was wrong, and then she would take me back through the article and tell me why I missed it. This was very helpful to me. She also graded my essay and told me the way I should write for the SAT. This was also very helpful.

So once I took the SAT the third time, using all the tips my tutor gave me, I increased my score by over 200 points. I was so excited about this. My score increased from a 1640 to a 1860. These tips were really helpful, and to this day I haven’t forgot them because I knew how helpful they were and I just always remembered them. Not only did this help me with the SAT, but it also helped me on tests in my classes. I would use her tips to read each article and answer the questions on them and I used the SAT way to write papers. This increased my grades a lot, especially in English. It is a little hard to use the SAT writing way she taught me for this essay because of the length of it, but I would still use it if I could.



Overall, the most important people in my literacy life have been my parents. Without them, I would have done a lot less with my life. I would have never been able to read, I would have never gotten help with essays, I would have never been convinced to get a tutor for the SAT, and most importantly, I would have never had the motivator I needed. They were always there to help me and will always be there to help me, no matter what the problem is. No matter how much, I complained and no matter how mad I got, they always pushed me to do my best and they wanted me to do as much as they knew I was capable of, and I may not have noticed it before, but I do now and I really appreciate it.

To sum everything up, my literacy life has been, I would say, a normal one. It has had its ups and downs just like everyone else’s literacy life, but it has definitely been a helpful one and everything I have done has been a good learning experience. From learning the ABC’s to the SAT, each step of my literacy life has become more and more difficult, yet it has helped me more and more too. I still have a long and difficult literacy life left, and a great way to start it is with attending college at UNC Charlotte.

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