As a child I was terrible at both reading and writing. I remember being in my home country in Georgetown, Guyana, in the 2nd grade not being able to take in any information my teachers taught me. My brain wasn’t registering what my ears were hearing. Like Malcolm X, I couldn’t write my words on the line, nor did I know any words to write on said lines. One thing I hated about my school and my teachers was if you got something wrong or didn’t understand something, you would get hit with a ruler as a punishment. There was a day in my school where I got terrified because one of my classmates was trying to get on the teachers good side and brought her a bamboo stick to punish us with if we got in trouble. I was scared because that day we had a test that day and if we ever fail a test we would get beaten, and a bamboo stick hurts more than a ruler and leaves a mark on your skin. Thankfully nothing happened because my classmates persuaded the student to throw the bamboo stick outside the window. Later on that year I learned that my family was moving to America and I was excited because my dad told me it snowed there and I’d never seen snow. Also, I was happy the teachers didn’t hit their students. Little did I know that my experiences in school in America would be worse than my experience in my country.
I was 8 years old when I came to the U.S. with my mom and my sister. We moved to Brooklyn first to live with my Aunt and that’s where I started my first school year in America. I had been placed in the 3rd grade and I was far behind my classmates when it came to any of the subjects, my worst class was English. In my country we speak an English based creole with African American and East Indian syntax, so it was hard for my teachers and classmates to understand me, it was also hard for me to understand them. My country’s educational system wasn’t as good as Americas, so I wasn’t prepared to see how much harder English was in America than in my country. I was failing all my classes with 50’s and 60’s and what made it worse was that, that same year we moved to Florida where I would have to start over again meeting new people and learning English a different way because teachers don’t teach the same. I was happy though because we moved in with my Aunt and she’s a teacher so she would help me with my homework. She would always bring home practice problems that she gave her class for me to do, I would have to read a passage and answer questions which she would check and help me find the right answers which resulted in me becoming better at reading and writing. finally my brain was processing the information my ears were hearing. As a child I loved reading books and my favorite books to read was “Dragon Slayers Academy” by Kate Mcmullan and “Charlotte’s Webs” by E.B. White. At first it was difficult reading these books, but as I kept on reading I was beginning to understand what was going on in the story and create a clear picture in my head. This helped me improve my reading and my writing, as well as my English which enabled me to talk to my teachers when I needed help and also make new friends.
Without my books, without my Aunt, and without coming to America, I would still not have been able to write on the line, which to me is just sad. Also, I wouldn’t understand what it was that I was reading. Without any type of reading, people wouldn’t be able to access any information that we receive from reading books, expand their word bank, and they wouldn’t be able to challenge their minds and become smarter, more knowledgeable. Without reading we would revert back to the caveman period and we wouldn’t be able to communicate without grunting. I say this because reading helps you to learn words, languages and you can use that to interact with others and build connections. Reading is one of the most essential skills to have and it has endless possibilities of how to use it.