Literacy development occurs during children’s formative years, allowing them to acquire phonological awareness, fluency, and comprehension of their native language. Eventually, a child begins to make connections in the systematic connection between language and its use for communication and learning. It is a natural and unceasing process that forges each child’s approach to various aspects of literacy. However, some events may be critical in influencing a person’s perceptions and skills. A pivotal experience that helped shape my relationship with literacy was receiving an opportunity to meet a well-known author that constructively critiqued and encouraged my writing.
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I learned to read at a relatively young age despite having minor speech-language pathology in the early years of my literacy development. By elementary school, I was an avid reader. It was a passion of mine to explore the fantasy worlds described in books. Reading was both a method of relaxation and a tool of learning for me at the same time. Overall, literary works were an inspirational influence on my psycho-emotional development as a child.
Despite the common misconception, my reading skills did not translate into writing. In class, I found myself excelling at comprehensive tests while struggling with writing. A significant issue was that, as a child, my imagination was overflowing with ideas. When beginning to write, I immediately visualized whole worlds and adventures similar to those in books. However, these thoughts were rapidly going through my mind, having no structure or logical format.
At one point during the transition to middle school, my parents wanted me to apply for a specific gifted program in the school district. The application process consisted of analyzing my grades and teacher recommendations (both of which made me eligible), as well as a written exam which was a timed essay. Eventually, I was declined admission simply due to the abhorrent and inconsistent quality of my writing. An event that strongly discouraged my efforts to write.
A few months later, it was announced that a well-known author of several adventure books that I enjoyed throughout elementary school was visiting the area. I was one of the few people selected by the English department to meet the author personally. We were asked to write an essay about the author’s work which could be a topic of discussion with him.
Eventually, the day came, and I had the opportunity to meet the author. It was a unique and unreal experience since I enjoyed his work and respected him as a person after reading his biography. The author noted that he had read our essays. At some point during the event, I had a chance to talk with him personally.
He clearly remembered my writing and proceeded to give me feedback. This was the first time I learned that professional writers had to develop complex plans and outlines when writing books in order to maintain structure and cohesiveness of thought. The author encouraged me to use writing as a medium to express ideas and knowledge in a way that I would want it to be presented to me. It was evident he could see the discouragement about my skills and sought to emphasize the importance of writing as an academic tool.
Afterward, my approach to literacy changed dramatically. I began to see rapid improvements in my skills, achieving better grades and entering into a gifted program the following year. I practiced writing for every school project and eventually became considered one of the top writers in my class throughout the rest of secondary education. A significant step towards the improvement of my writing, both creative and academic, was learning to express my thoughts competently.
The abundance of information I received from reading could now be translated to written expression. To this day, I continue to expand my literacy skills through improved vocabulary, phraseology, and genre-specific techniques. All these factors contribute to formulating an open-minded and expansive worldview while aiding me in structuring an argument to support my personal opinion.