I furthered my writing skills through reading at first. Then I majorly changed my skills in writing in the 9th grade. My first writing experience came from a book for young children that was read to me. I also remember a point in my life that ties good emotions to a reading experience. My journey to becoming the writer that I am today started with a book.
To me, literacy is how well someone can read or write a story, article, etc. and be able to understand or convey a message. It is important to be literate as most of everything you do in life will involve some form of literacy, such as interpreting prices. You also need to be able to clearly convey ideas through writing. You almost do this every day, with texting. Most of the time in texts you’ll use shorthand and acronyms, which may not always clearly convey a message.
The first book that I remember reading on my own was Artemis Fowl. I remember it was a hardcover, except the cover art was one of the protective sleeves. There were several cover arts, but the one this book had was just the front of a gold-leafed journal. The cover was also heavily worn down. Where the cover used to be raised, it was almost flush with the rest of the cover. The book was also thick, as it was around 350-400 pages long.
In Emily Strasser’s article in the Writing about Writing journal, I found one quote that stuck out to me. Strasser said that students should be encouraged to “write and claim their own stories and expressions.” (Strasser 200) This speaks to me as a writer, as when I need to write an essay, it always feels like I’m doing something wrong when I can’t include my own experiences. Whenever a prompt is impersonal, it becomes difficult for me to write about the prompt. If we can’t include ourselves in the prompt, then all we care about when writing is making the essay look good for the teacher, and no other audiences.
The first book that was read to me was the first stepping stone in my journey towards being able to write. The book that was read to me was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault and Bill Martin Jr. This book is what helped me most with learning the alphabet. My mom would read it to me almost daily and go over the letters with me. This helped me in learning how to write, as it taught me what each of the letters looked like. It was this book that had helped me early in school with writing. I now look back and am glad that Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was read to me, though it isn’t the only book that helped me with writing.
Another book that was important in my literacy skills was the first Artemis Fowl book. Artemis Fowl was the first book that I had read all on my own and had enjoyed. After reading the first book in the series, I had wanted to read the rest. It was because of this book that I had learned how to write better at the time. Reading books helps you write, as you not only learn new words, but new ways to connect one sentence to another. You can learn better sentence structure just from reading and paying attention to how an author writes their sentences. It was because of these books that I had become a better writer at the time, as it taught me how to properly structure sentences.
Becoming a better writer lead to a good experience with writing. One positive experience that comes to mind when I think about writing is all the essays that I wrote in the 9th grade. In that class, we were expected to write at least an essay a week. At first, I had disliked this, but I had grown to enjoy writing. This class is when I enjoyed writing the most. We were given loose prompts that allowed us to include our own experiences instead of only writing about the content of an excerpt or book. The entirety of 9th grade English has become a positive experience for me. It was also when I had learned how important writing is.
It was in my 9th grade English class that I had realized how important writing is. My 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Halsey, heavily encouraged writing. He would have us writing at least an essay a week, sometimes even more! At first, I hated it and wanted to just give up on trying with the essays. Though after a while, I found myself enjoying writing these essays. I would be able to easily write a one page essay very quickly. It was at this point in the class that I had realized how important writing is. By being able to write about a passage or my own experiences with ease, I was easily able to get a message across to other people. I was able to explain to the audience what I wanted them to know.
There is one quote from Allen that really resonates with me. Allen says that she had “always loved to read, but writing has been much more work than I ever anticipated.” (Allen 37) This relates to me as a writer, as I will find myself stuck on a single sentence, trying to think what will best fit with the current subject. I sometimes am blocked up for minutes trying to think on how to properly translate an idea into a paragraph. I love to read, and consider myself a decent writer, though sometimes I find it hard to still think that when I am stuck there trying to figure out what best fits.
- Strasser, Emily. “Writing What Matters: A Student’s Struggle to Bridge the Academic/Personal Divide.” 2007, Writing about Writing: A College Reader, edited by Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs, Bedford St. Martin’s, 2014, pp. 199-204.
- Allen, Sarah. “The Inspired Writer vs. The Real Writer.” 2010, Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Volume 1, edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, Parlor Press, 2010, pp. 34-44