Literacy and Liberty

Learning to Read and Write
Posted by: , September 20, 2018, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Learning to read was a time in my life I remember quite vividly. From what I have heard from most people, learning to read was a skill they learned in school early on, either beginning in preschool or soon thereafter. However, my education of handwriting was not received in any professional setting. Each evening of my adolescence until the age of eight, I was forced to sit next to my mother and read the training series Bob Books. I do not remember the plot of most of these books, but do recall my unwillingness to participate in these exercises. Usually about an hour after we had finished dinner my mother and I would resume where we had left off the previous night, after my sister and I had had enough time to play in the basement and release the potential energy we had generated during the 30 minutes spent sitting at the dinner table. Each word I was not able to pronounce, she would carefully guide me through by making the sounds of each letter with her mouth, and instructing me to do the same.

However, learning to write is a time in my life I do not remember at all. The only writing exercises I can recall were during the third grade, learning to write cursive. We would return to class after finishing with our morning recess time, and the teacher would instruct us to take out our cursive tracing textbooks from underneath our desks. And for an hour, we would trace each letter a dozen times, then proceed to write sentences like “The field trip to the zoo was fun”, or. “The birds flew in the sky”. One part of cursive I remember not understanding, was the purpose of it all. Why would someone choose to use a style of writing no one could understand? What was so wrong with normal handwriting that someone had decided to change the shape of letters and connect every letter in every word? These questions puzzled me as I traced letters like “z” and “b”, letters with no resemblance to their original shape. Although, if someone were to read my handwriting today, it could be easily mistaken as a construed form of cursive as all the letter are connected, just not in the clean fashion I was taught in the third grade, but more like I was in the biggest hurry of my life.

Learning to Read
Posted by: , September 5, 2018, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

      When I was eight years old, I had already decided reading was the worst thing I had ever tried. Not only did I not enjoy reading, I hated how I was forced to sit down next to my mother for 30 minutes a day and practice reading starter books for children. I could not have imagined then, how something I disliked so much would turn into one of my greatest passions. It was only after three years of not reading a single word I didn’t have to, that I discovered the novel which would change my perception of reading forever. The Tower Treasure, the first book of the Hardy Boys series that was given to me as a gift for my birthday when I was 11 years old, and was my first introduction to the pleasure a great story could bring me. I was able to pretend like I was a part of the motorcycle-riding, teenage detective duo, solving crimes and going on dates with pretty girls. However, more than that, The Treasure Tower was my first taste of how literature could function as a transportation mechanism, allowing me to leave where I was and travel to wherever the setting of the novel of my choosing would take me. Books not only became a way for me to use my imagination, but as I got older, a way for me to garner the perspectives of other cultures and different people. Reflecting upon those times when I was younger, when I was forced to sit next to my mother for our daily reading sessions, it all seems like a cheap price to pay for a lifetime of exploration.