literacy narrative

Cesar  cordero

Prof ms.jewel

Sitting on a colorful rug and listening to my pre-kindergarten teacher, read books from Dr. Seuss was first memory of learning to read. She would read word by word slowly and show us what she was reading and of course she would show off the pictures. She finished reading and now we are sitting at our tiny tables learning how to write the alphabet and numbers. Those are the first memories I have of learning to read and write. Starting kindergarten I finally compose sentences though spelling was no my forte. Throughout elementary and middle school my writing improved because now I finally knew what the parts of speech were and the grammar rules that go along with writing.  Grammar and parts of speech took a lot of practice and we reviewed almost every year. During those years I mainly learned the basics and the structure for writing.

         My experiences in high school are my most vivid of memories when it comes to reading, writing, and communicating. My freshman year of high school I had an English teacher that had a big personality and made English class interesting and often unpredictable. She would break out into a song or dance in order to explain things such as a hyperbole. She was the first teacher to peak my interest in reading and writing. Sophomore year was also a turning point for my writing because I had to write a lengthy research paper on Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I learned that I have trouble staying focused on my thesis at times and my wording can often be awkward. I was thankful that quite a bit of drafting was involved and my final paper was a huge improvement.  Junior year was a great year for my interest in reading because I read East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which was a great book. Reading East of Eden made me realize how important annotating is and that rereading the text may be necessary if you did not pick up a good understanding the first time around. Senior year was an interesting one because of my expository reading and writing class. One of the hardest things I did was writing a group essay. We were in a group before we started the essay then when we started to draft we discovered we had different opinions on the topic. Communication was key and we had to figure out a compromise so that we could all get our point across.  High school had a huge contribution to my literacy narrative.      

         Over the years I have learned that I comprehend text well but have trouble staying focused and getting my point across clearly which are aspects that I would like to improve on. It is a goal of mine to improve my skills of focusing on the thesis and be state my thoughts clearly.

without beating around the bush and rambling on. I have come along way throughout the years but there is always room for improvement.

Literacy narrative

My name is Mayy raised and born in New York with three siblings. My great grandparents are the first immigrants that have arrived in America. My grandparents admire New York even though they were raised in Virginia and originally from Egypt. Growing up with a family that enjoys reading, such as my grandfather, mother, uncles, and siblings have nothing to relate with me. I remember visiting my uncle Ashraf during wintertime, and he would hold a dictionary book skimming through and memorizing all the words written in the dictionary. All I could think of that he must be bored or crazy. Having a younger brother that also relates to uncle Ashraf, and reads a dictionary as if its a journey. Not only my brother and my uncle are obsessed with reading the dictionary, but the same as it goes with my friends and family. However, I find it easier searching the words online then opening a dictionary.

I already know that I have no interest in reading or writing. Actually, in high school, I did have an interest in reading books only when i was trying to fall asleep. All the books assignment that has been given by a teacher are boring. It either talks about history war or nonfiction stories that have nothing to relate with me. I would always feel insecure writing an essay or submitting homework during my English class. I felt embarrassed asking my bothers to edit my works due to lack of grammar. However, I would pass my English class with an Average grade, but with my math and other subjects, I would get higher score grades. Thanks to my math skills, friends that didn’t have any struggle with English class, including my brothers, I would help them with math homework.

Today, I’m a different person when it comes to writing or reading, but the same person thinks that reading the whole dictionary and memorizing it is dull. Today, writing is the only way that I can express my emotions and not able to be interrupted. Working in an environment full of women that are adults and only gossip and not able to let other people finish their sentences have diving me nuts. My Coworkers are rude and don’t give the person the chance to speak for their complete thoughts. We have decided that we would only email each other to express our opinions and to have identification. It seems that writing has been beneficial and friendly to me. I guess I have been growing and finally understanding the purpose of writing and reading.

Apparently, books are not about being forced to read them and to get good grades in class, but also to educate you in life and make you wiser about the future. Malcolm X doesn’t relate to me when he reads the dictionary but refers to people that exist in my life. When Malcolm X mentioned how writing makes him feel free even though he was in prison, definitely reflected me. Books have been a great assistance in my life. It’s the only way that I could gather all my thoughts and able to express it. Not only writing but also reading as well. I have been educating myself on reading just the way Malcolm X did. It has made me look at the world from a different perspective. It also has lightened me in life with advice.

Literacy Narrative

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me some story before I sleep at night. From this story, I can learn about how to communicate and make friends with the other one. After that, I found that I was interested in biology. Whenever I hear “Entomological memories” I am always unable to sleep, because I was so excited. But my mother had a lot of work, she become more and more busy. She asked me to study and read by myself. Therefore, she bought some books for me to study. When I read the first story, I couldn’t understand what the story said. I tried to find each word meaning in my dictionary. At that time, this is the best way for me to understand this story. When I was in elementary school, the teacher gave us homework we had to read and understand an article. Then, we had to talk about what the article mean during next class. If you didn’t do it, you will be punished. I was afraid that the teacher would punish me, so I asked my parents and classmates to help me with my difficulties in English. After 6 years, I graduated from elementary school, at that time I could write a simple article about 400 words.

In junior high school, I learned how to read classical Chinese. The classical Chinese is an article with thousands of years of history in China. This kind of articles is a huge problem for every students. At the same time, teachers asked me to remember of a lot of poems and classical Chinese. Students had to write from memory. We actually didn’t know why we need to do this.

My first year high school was in China, we began to learn some basic English. We had to remember different words meaning in Chinese and some basic grammar. When I first read English article I found it a lot different between Chinese grammar and English grammar. Translation and understanding each English words meaning is the most important thing. During the break, I asked my English teacher:” Can you communicate with foreigners?” She said ” Of course !” I was confused onto how she spoke good English and never went to the other country. I failed my English exam, because I didn’t understand the article. I asked my teacher ” How can I strengthen my reading ability?” she said ” You can try to see some English movies without Chinese subtitles, just focus on what they are talking about.

when I enter the United States the police ask me to do something. But I couldn’t understand. So I needed to rely on translation to communicate with him. In this case, I knew I would face a lot of difficult things in my study. As I expected, in my first ESL class I want to go to bathroom, but I just know the word “bathroom” and I don’t know how to organize words to make it become a sentence. I said “Ms  bathroom !” Then my finger is pointing to the door, It means ” I want to go outside.” My teacher knew what I meant, but she didn’t allow me to go. She said ” You should say ‘ May I come to the bathroom?’, try to say!” At that time my classmates looked at me and I felt embarrassed. As time went on, I learned more English. Although as you say this is ” broken” English, but I will continue to study hard to make my English more prefect. Whether it is reading, writing or speaking.

Literacy narrative

when I was eight years old, I came to the USA, I’ve bent put into the school after the 3rd day as I came to the United State. I realized people around me were speaking different languages other than my home language, Moreover; that I knew that to learn English in order to communicate with the people around me, I start to work hard on practicing my Enslish every saturday with my mother, a writing the word again and again, just to make sure I will  remember the word, everyday in my primary school I tried to communicate with my classmate who is around me, my teacher wanting all their students to speak English in the class, but in third grade class the teacher don’t actually teach the student that many words, differently; in my home land China the teacher teach students many vocabs and characters, we also learn to memorize the whole story, it was more difficult than the USA, so I try my best to adapt into the class, and I have to learn words with my parents.

Today, I still remembers when my mother put me into after school program every year, and she wanted me to learn as much English as possible, I hate it very much, but when I was in the after school program, the teacher taught me a lot of words, they also help me on how  to read my homework problems, I think that this is funny because the after school program actually teach more than my school class, and they teach me a lot of things, during my first summer in USA. Furthermore, in order to improve my Englsih, my mother sent me to a summer camp, I remember that every friday the class will have a test on about 20 vocabulary words, if we make one word wrong then we have to copy it 10 times for the punishment, and this helps me alot because I try my best to memorize all the words so that I don’t have to copy the word again, and I feel very happy while getting good grades, as result; after the summer champ I am being able to communicate with people using English, but even though I can communicate I was a horrible reader and writer, I think that was because in the pass while I was learning English, differently, not all the school teachers teach like this.

Before middle school,  I never try to read the books, because it was boring while reading and I was only focus on the vocabularies, in today I am still a horrible reader, when it comes to writing I were never tried to write an essay, I never reader other peoples article and learn how to write when  I first try to write a good essay is when I was in middle school, my first English teacher taught me a lot on how to write a good essay, the funny thing is that I never know what is the structure of an essay before I entered middle school, my Enslish was very kind to all her students, she had invited some students into her morning program for some additional help on speaking, reading and writing skills, me and most of  my classmates like this teacher so much, because the way she taught us, and trying to help us, she also share some of her culture will the student, and we all like to share cultures in each other, I started to love reading books in English and my writing skills are getting better and better, as now I am able to communicate with people in English and I can write good essays, I was being able to do well when I enter high school.

 overall, the reason that I learn English is because I want to communicate with different people, my experience is that I always want myself to get better and better, so I learn, when tough I still have horrible writings, what I believe the teacher in school should make the class fun, they should make the student feel relax and enjoy while learning, in school teachers don’t actually teach students english words, and I believe that the teacher should spend more time to make new students adapt to this education environment.

A Lesson Taught in Forth Grade

Baldip Singh                            

English 1101 

Professor B. Jewell

My Personal Experience


              An unfortunate experience that I have had with reading was doing a presentation and panicking. It was a really bad experience because it took me a really long time to get over it. It happened in the beginning of fourth grade so I didn’t even know anyone making the whole situation ten times worse. We were told to write about our summer and the best thing about it. I was really excited to write about mine because I had gone to Splish Splash and it was a really fun experience for me. The day that we were supposed to hand it in, we were told that we had to present it, which sent cold chills around my body. I happened to be a very shy kid and this was the beginning of the year so I didn’t even know anyone yet. 


            As everyone was presenting I heard the nervousness in their voice which made me feel better because I realized that I was not the only one who was worried. Then as my teacher called my name and I got up, it took me the longest to get up to the board and in that moment I instantly regretted sitting in the back. I introduced myself to the class and began reading. I read the first two sentences and was interrupted by the teacher as she told me to read louder and more slower. I thought she was exaggerating until the kids in the back were asked if they could hear me to which they said no. I began to read over and stopped after the third sentence, panicked and just started walking to my seat and sat down. My teacher being as kind as she was, didn’t question me and read my story, while sitting beside me. I was still nervous because I knew she wouldn’t do that for me another time.


          That experience taught me two things, to expect the unexpected and that I needed to work on reading out loud. My teacher was also on the same page as whenever we had to read something, I was always one of the people on her list to pick. I always felt like the odd one out because of that as I would always have to read the longer paragraphs. My teacher even told my parents that I struggled reading which made everything worse. My mom thought that making me read out loud as she cooked in the kitchen was a good idea. It was never much of a challenge reading out loud to my family because I just felt as if I’m talking to them, rather than this being something totally abnormal. However, the main issue was reading in front of a crowd that I was not very comfortable being around. That was why Fourth grade English was a class I strongly disliked. My parents cut down on my time watching TV and video games. The would instead make me read 25 pages before I went to be. It actually benefited me because my reading level increased and I was able to read much faster and more fluently. I still remember making my sister read ” Lord of the Flies” to me, even though I didn’t understand a lot of words it still fascinated me. Now when I look back at that class I realized that there will be bigger challenges but you will be accustomed to dealing with them. 


Literacy Narrative

“Language and accents govern so much of how people think about others” was a phrase I heard quite often growing up. As a young kid I didn’t agree at all with this phrase but when I got a little older and migrated to United States. All of a sudden, my opinion changed because of the situations me and my family had to face due to the reason that we didn’t speak English. I seen how people can be treated differently than others in view of the fact that how they speak and try to communicate.

During my childhood, I never noticed people judging others on their language since the country I am originally from, people spoke the same language with similar accent. I moved to United States when I was 14 and mature enough to know about how the other person feels about me when I am talking. I never realized how diversity can have both positive and negative effects. As soon as we landed in US, I already felt the wave of diversity which was visually pleasing. But on the other side, when we went to the security and paperwork checking, the security guard sitting there started asking us questions which was very intimidating, and we couldn’t really answer even though we were trying our best. He got sick and tired from us and called some other lady to deal with us. The lady was much more polite and humble, and she understood that we just came from another country. We were somehow able to answer the questions she asked. This incident opened my eyes on how individuals who do not speak English and have a limited ability to read, write or understand can be victims of some ignorant people’s judgement.

How would one feel if he/she is in a room with other students who speak fluent English, but he/she don’t? I was in a similar position when I started school here. Majority of my peers in my classes spoke English very well and I was the only one who didn’t. it made me feel left out because whenever we would discuss something, everyone participated, and I just stared at everyone as they answered the questions. Even if I would try to answer questions, I wouldn’t be able to express my full thought and my answer end up not making any sense. It made me an untalkative person which I am actually not.

What matters the most is the type of humans you have around you who can teach you certain things that you are having difficulty with. I was going to school but in my opinion, school’s English class wasn’t really teaching me the English that is useful. In other words, school never taught me the English that I can use to communicate in public. They mostly paid attention to the writing such as essays and letters. The only thing that helped me learn English the fastest way was socializing with others. I made a good number of friends who I would spend time with. And I knew English is the only language they understand so I had to just speak English with them. Playing basketball and keeping company with people who spoke fluent English taught me English. Sometimes, you can learn more from the streets than being in school.


Learning and expanding on a new language is hard knowing that it’s going to take weeks, months, or even years to perfect. Not to forget that, living in a household where no one spoke proper or even no English at all, was also a big obstacle interfering in her progress in learning a new language. 1st grade Maricellis struggled to read and write because she didn’t know anything about the English language. In a room full of Hispanic students, the majority of them communicated in English, while she was in a corner, silent all by herself. School was not a place she wanted to be at because it was very hard and she felt left out. The teacher would give homework to copy over 5 to 10 times at home. Mother would sit next to her to make sure she copied words 15 to 20 times, without error. Getting yelled at if she spelled words wrong or mispronouncing them. It was not easy picking up English, when all around her was Spanish. 

3rd grade Maricellis learned basic English words that would help her out in a simple conversation. She would say “I need paper and pencil to write” or “I need to go to bathroom,” simple phrases like that, helped her go through school and life. Towards the middle of 3rd grade, things got challenging for her because writing paragraphs and taking spelling test every week became a thing. She didn’t know the words that were given and she would stress out about them. The teacher would give homework to rewrite 10 to 20 times at home. Her Mother would sit next to her and made sure she copied words 25 to 30 times, without error. Gets yelled at, if she spelled the words wrong or mispronounced them.

6th grade Maricellis, got the hang of things. She made a few mistakes here and there, but basically understood and communicated in English. She wrote 2 to 4 page essays about every book the class would read. Every book she read, she would write down words she didn’t understand and look it up later or asked a teacher. She would get called to participate in class and would say one word answers. She wasn’t quite comfortable in a class setting but she felt much more accepted in class because she understood what was going on and could keep up with them. The teacher would give homework every day and at home her mother would ask, “Are you okay, do you understand it.” If she didn’t do the homework, she would go to the teacher for help and do it with them. 

8th grade Maricellis graduated with honors in all subjects and was top 5 in Honor Roll. She participated more and was much more comfortable sharing in class. Understanding the material in class was not as big of a problem for her and she had the teachers and friends to help her out. Building a group of people to trust in, has helped her achieve everything, which was a result of communication. Without the communication between the teachers and with her mother, she didn’t think she would make it that far in school at all. With this, her development in speaking, writing, and understanding English is the product of becoming a much better student. The teacher would give a lot of homework depending on what was done in class and would go home to do homework, without her mother worrying if she knew what she was doing or not. 

12th grade Maricellis was voicing out much more to the point, not everyone liked it. Since she was comfortable in speaking in class about class topics in middle school, she decided to branch out in high school and talk about topics she cared a lot more for. She spoke to her mother and voiced out her opinion weather her mother liked it or not.. She went to school ready to tag something on certain discussion, such as race or sexual orientation, and talked about it with no worry. She felt free at last to finally be able to voice out her voice in arguments, in a language more people can listen to and respect more. Rather than speaking in Spanish, English gave her the outlet she needed in order to communicate her side. Senior year she wrote a 10 page essay about Climate Change, expressing the causes and effects, ways to prevent or change the damage that has been done, and try to make her opinion and solutions stand out. Not only her writing thus far has improved and empowered her to communicate in such form, but also when she did a presentation on the main focuses on the paper, she stood up proud and talked about it for 7 minutes straight. She loved that feeling and didn’t want it any other way. Up to this day, Maricellis is in college, writing about her experience about her childhood to express how far she has come from speaking nothing to something. Maricellis, is me, and this is my story.

The Lost Spanish

Junior year, I had the option of taking a Spanish class or French class, it was a no brainer which one I would obviously select but little did I know my Spanish was imperfect. Growing up “Antes a mi me gustaba hablar mas el Espanol que el Ingles” I remember traveling to Mexico and refusing to speak English over there. “Jajajaja” Laughter in the air, a cool breeze running through my hair those nights in Mexico were very precious to me, I was able to crack jokes, have a deep and meaningful conversation with my relatives in Spanish. But now that’s not the case, I wish I could still communicate with them as good as I did when I was younger, truth is I lost my Spanish.

As the years passed, English became my dominant language and lacked practice speaking Spanish which is something I’m not proud of. I felt a sense of guilt, I should be able to keep my language alive. Although Spanish is spoken in many countries, they all are different in their own ways. I’m Mexican, so my Spanish has a different accent, slang, and meanings. For example, Mexicans would say “no manches” to say no kidding or no way but to someone who is Dominican they would have no idea what that means. Sometimes us Spanish speaking countries use the same words but have different meanings, Mexicans use “chafa” to describe something cheap or of low quality but the Honduran term for “chafa” is the armed forces.

 I sometimes think about the future and wonder will I be able to communicate with my people? Or will they think I’m just another American coming to Mexico for vacation knowing nothing about the Mexican slang or culture? I wonder when I speak do I appear from a different Spanish speaking country and not one of their own? 

Taking a Spanish class Junior year, thinking it would be easy was very naive of me. My non-Spanish speaking friends, like Hermidine and Mahir, would come up to me and ask “hey can you help me with this?” But in all honesty, I didn’t know much either. It was a constant battle between what I wanted to write versus what I was capable of writing, adding accents was such a pain too. “Arlyn, Puedes leer la estoria para mi?” Slowly my face turns red, as I cough trying to clear my throat and tremble as I read the first word of the passage. The number of times I wanted to hide my face somewhere whenever I was asked to read aloud to the class in Spanish because I didn’t want others to know my struggle with Spanish. In my head, I could pronounce a word perfectly fine but when it came down to me saying it out loud I just sounded like someone who just started speaking the language. I didn’t want to be a person who’s from a Spanish speaking country who didn’t know the language at all. Although I know quite a few people who don’t speak it at all and would be called “gringo” for not knowing their native language.

I noticed that I didn’t get enough practice and so with time I started losing my accent and begin to stumble on words or give up and say what I meant in English instead of Spanish. I knew this Spanish class was going to be helpful for me but I definitely took it for granted. I would sit in the back of the class and fool around with my friends, making jokes not realizing I should’ve paid attention to the lesson knowing it would be beneficial. Although, my mother and my older sister have seen an improvement in my speaking and writing, so in some ways even if I felt like I could’ve done more to improve. It’s the little steps that are getting me there. 

2006. Kindergarten

2006. Kindergarten.

            We were told to write a story, there was a number of lines we were required to fill. I remember we had our blue folders up, it was a test and there was a time limit. 

             Palms sweaty, cramps in my left hand, I was in a rush. I had to finish on time. I could hear everyone’s pencils scribbling on the paper, they had so much to say, I remember thinking. I knew what I wanted to say but, under all the pressure it didn’t translate well on paper. “And then aun scwad eradiue vatxjia gudia maan iujxn euo…” is what I started to write in order to fill the lines. 

             Pencils dropping, papers rusting, chairs sliding back, everyone began to hand in their assignments. 

             As I got up, a part of me thought, “the teacher will understand what I’m trying to say”, but when she looked at my paper, she was so confused. I quickly went back to my seat, I couldn’t wait to go home and draw. 



             I grew up speaking roughly 4 languages and I was terrible at all of them. I remember my brain being so confused all the time. “Speak Urdu with your mom” my dad would say. Meanwhile, he spoke to me in Punjabi. We’d watch movies in Hindi and my siblings and I conversed in English. 

             English. What a language.

             As I grew up, I slowly mastered these languages but it sure was a rollercoaster learning them. In elementary school I was placed in ESL, my dad was so disappointed, he’d always say to me “you was born here, how could you not know the english”. My spirit was constantly crushed, I would get so frustrated when it came to reading and writing. Instead of reading I’d look at the illustrations and sometimes I would copy them. I’d draw them over and over again until one of the teachers would scream my name incorrectly. 


             Reading tests. 

             We had books. We read them. When it came to reading tests, we would read a passage aloud to the teacher. As we read the words, she’d put a check mark next to them with her green marker indicating that, yes, we did in fact read these words out loud successfully. Some kids would move on to the “next level”. I would always stay at the same level. 

             It wasn’t that I didn’t like reading, there had been only one way of teaching and I couldn’t comprehend the lessons. I found them boring. Stupid. Useless.

             I wanted help, but I didn’t know how to ask or what to say. I wanted to do better but I was stuck. I wanted to write about how I was feeling but, I didn’t have the vocabulary. I wanted to make my dad proud but I didn’t know where to begin. 


             English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi.

             Looking back has made me realize how difficult it was, finding a balance between these languages. There wasn’t exactly a “how to” guide on speaking four languages. Even now, I struggle with my third and fourth languages, but these experiences make me who I am today. Even though I struggle, I know it’s worth it. 

Ignorance Isn’t A Bliss

        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.