My Literacy Narrative
For some people learning how to read is an easy task. For others, it is quite a journey. I was an extroverted kid. I loved being on stage at a tender age. I remember waiting when everyone was quiet in a family gathering to make a comment that would crack their ribs. I felt tired and bored if left alone for long. I loved music and dancing. My parents loved my outward personality. All my efforts were directed at making people happy. However, my dislike for education and negative attitude almost ruined my life. A negative attitude almost rendered me a failure at home and school. However, letting go of it contributed to my success in literacy.
I remember the first time my mum read a storybook to me and my cousin. I felt bored. I only listened because I was forced to. My cousin on the other hand was always excited. She loved listening to those stories. She quickly learned how to read. As for me, reading was like a puzzle. There was no way I could find a solution. My mum started spending more time reading to my cousin and teaching her how to read and write. I was no longer getting the attention I always loved. I started developing some negative attitudes towards my family members. I couldn’t do what I am told. I purposely annoyed them.
When we joined the school, my cousin had an easier time. She always had good scores. I was struggling. My family tried to help but I was too arrogant. There was no way I could allow my cousin to have the limelight. I concentrated on my singing, dancing, and making people laugh. For me, this was the only way to win their attention. This is similar to Rodriguez’s idea of putting extra effort into something to succeed. He says, “I idolized my teachers. I began imitating their accents, using their diction, trusting their every direction (Rodriguez 242)”. This worsened the relationship with my family.
I remember trying to hurt the feelings of my cousin for just misplacing my shoes. I exhibited anger and aggression towards her. I felt that she was taking away my parents’ love and attention. My parents had to deal with a case of misbehavior now and then. I started disobeying and acting contrary to what they said. This attitude was so bad that I remember hearing my mum praying for me to change. But, all I wanted at this point, was to have my attention back. I continued focusing on my social life. Then, two things happened that changed my thinking.
First, some friends came over to our house over a weekend. Mum suggested two games and whoever emerged a winner would get some present. I loved her idea. The first game was a dance challenge. Of course, I won that. The second game was a reading challenge. How could she! She knew I wouldn’t win that! Yes, I lost. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t understand why my mother would want me to be that embarrassed. The last thing I wanted at this point was to see any of my family members. I was so disappointed with them.
On another occasion, my cousin was awarded a huge and shiny trophy for good performance in school. You know the trick such trophies do? They get you all the attention you desire. My family was so proud of her. Everything was about my cousin in that house. I swear I hated that. That was supposed to be me! My scores were too terrible anyway. I remember commenting just for some attention. I said Joey (our classmate) had performed better than my cousin and even went home with several trophies. Of course, they ignored me and continued celebrating her achievement.
At this point, I was good in social life but terrible in education. Also, because of my attitude, I was ruining a good relationship with my family. My negative attitude was changing how I interacted with them. I was no longer an obedient and respectful kid. I was ready to lose my values but prosper in social life and have attention. This is similar to Rodriguez’s experience. His quest to succeed changed how he related to his people. Although he feels comfortable and secure in school after education success, this becomes the source of dissatisfaction. Rodriguez becomes unrecognizable by his people. His parents are instead disappointed (Rodriguez 250).
After the two incidents, I realized the relationship with my people was not getting any better. I could see the disappointment in my parents’ eyes. They even went ahead to say how unrecognizable I was. At this moment, I knew I had to do something to succeed. I decided to lose my negative attitude. This was the only way I would win the attention back. I decided that I would start developing a relationship with my family and allow them to help me learn how to read.
Re-building my relationship with my family was responsible for my love for reading. After letting go of a negative attitude, I started spending more time with them. My parents started reading to me again. Initially, I couldn’t pay attention to the readings. This time, I felt motivated. We spent most of the bonding time curled up on the couch readings books aloud. This was a great inspiration. I loved how my cousin could read fluently. They motivated me to want to learn how to read even bigger books. Reading with them instilled a joy of reading.
Even with the motivation, learning to read was not easy. I had a very difficult time. Grasping concepts was quite a task. None of them seemed to click. At times I felt frustrated because I badly wanted to learn how to read. The thought of coming home with trophies from school motivated me. Just as Rodriguez says that shiny trophies with his brother and sister influenced him to desire success, my cousin’s success influenced me (Rodriguez 240). This is why I felt frustrated with my reading difficulties. While it took me a while to learn how to read, once I got the basics, I spent most of my time reading. I remember how much I loved reading the Harry Potter series.
Looking at my cousin and my friends at school, I could tell being able to read gave them confidence and authority. This is the kind of success I wanted. I started visiting the library to pick out new books. My cousin inspired me to read even more complicated books. She read to me parts of such books and I would be hooked. At this point, I decided I wanted to read the books for myself. I aimed at catching up with her. This contributed to my success in understanding literacy.
With time, reading became one of my favorite activities. Just as Rodriguez, my family was happy when I learned how to read. Rodriguez says, “My parents were happy at my success. They also were proud” (Rodriguez 245). I could also see the joy in my parents’ eyes for reading eloquently. Reading and writing have since played an important part in my life. Over time, I have managed to sharpen these skills. This influences my love for education. It has kept me motivated to succeed in school.
Letting go of a negative attitude was the primary reason for my success in literacy and school. It made me realize that I can succeed in social life and also in education without losing my values. My desire for the present and future experiences of education is to achieve academic success but not at the expense of my social life. I wish for the capability to balance between education and social life. This way, I would achieve academic success and at the same time maintain a good relationship with my people. I wouldn’t want to be like Rodriguez who achieves success but ends up lonely. He spends years trying to achieve academic success only to end up yearning for the good times he had with his people in the past (Rodriguez 254). I hope to continue developing my reading and writing skills as I consider these skills as the safety net of my life. They will help fulfill my success wishes.
Rodriguez Richard, “The Achievement of Desire: Personal Reflections on Learning “Basics” College English, Vol. 40, No. 3 (1978), pp. 239-254.