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Jamie Correa
Professor Tyberg
English 100
17 September 2014

Essay Assignment #2- Out-of-Class Personal Narrative: Quest to Literacy

The earliest memory of me holding a book on my lap was on my mothers lap. That
particular day, we were reading the classic story of the five little monkeys jumping on their bed.
I remember my mom, reading word by word, slowly and carefully sounding out every syllable
with a think Spanish accent attached to it. How I loved listening to her voice and how each word
came out of her lips foreign and mysterious. Up until this day, I read and write to expand and
transform my life as a reader and a writer.
When it comes to writing, especially a theme or subject you have no idea on how to start
off, you just have to let the words flow off of your finger tips and your brain waves as if you
know its right or true, but especially makes sense. Just as Ann Lamott in her article Shitty First
Drafts explains that The first draft is the childs draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it
romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.
Throughout elementary school, middle school, especially high school, and now college, I still
struggle when it comes to finding the right words to use in an essay or story, just like I am right
now. With a first draft, I have come to learn, it is ok to make mistakes here and there, but the
most important lesson is to type or write the first thing that comes to your mind as a writer and
jot it down before it escapes. The drafts after the first, are to correct mistakes, and add more
details and evidence to captivate your audiences attention, and this has helped me develop as a

Throughout second and third grade, my grade school teachers enrolled me within a
program at school for students who had English as a second language, and trouble keeping up
with the other students when it came to participating in groups and reading time during normal
class hours. I so wanted to join the other students, when it came to picking out a stuffed animal
from the bin, choosing a novel, and sitting down at our desks to read quietly. Instead, I was
escorted to the bungalows on the other side of the schoolyard, to join a speech teacher and other
students who were going through the same difficulties as I was. In that two year time lapse, I
learned the funny language we know as English. I learned how e was actually sounded out like
i, and vice versa, how some words sounded the exact same, but had different meanings, and
most of all how to put words together to make sentences and how these sentenced put together
on pages and illustrations could make beautiful stories and settings, with vibrant characters with
witty sayings and actions. This idea of writing my very own book captivated me with a sense of
longing and need. So in third grade, by luck, our school held a contest for each student in each
grade to come up with a book, title, illustrations, and all, to show to the kindergarteners of a
different school and vice versa. What a joy was it writing that book! I based my story on the well
known tale of Cinderella, every little girls dream at that time of being a princess and all. I
worked hard writing that book, sometimes even skipping recess, to stay in class illustrating the
book to perfection. In the end, I received first place in my third grade class. After two years of
struggling with English, and finally being recognized for my work and dream of writing my own
book for the world to see, well in this case three kindergarten classes, I felt a rush of happiness
and butterflies filled my insides. I still have the little book I wrote, and each time my eyes
pass over the spine of it, I remember the feeling of accomplishment, and how hard work really

does pay off when you really and truly want something.
In high school, the book that was assigned to each and every one of us in my class, was that by
William Shakespeare titled Julius Caesar. From the very beginning I dreaded reading this book,
just by the first few pages that I skimmed through, the language, the setting was all too
confusing. When it came time to pick our roles in the novel, my peers, including myself,
complained about the whole book itself, and were assigned our parts by the teacher. Throughout
the time my class read this novel, some would doze off into REM sleep, and no one really
understood the language being used (Old English I believe). In the end, more than half of the
class failed the final test of the semester, all the questions were based on the story, no one
complained other than that the novel was way too hard to read, and that the book was boring, and
uninteresting. During the winter break of that year, with the book barely scribbled on and
highlighted during my semester that I was stuck with it, I tried taking my time in reading it,
being that I was stuck at home, highlighting and deciphering the vocabulary I didnt understand.
In the end, I still didnt quite understand the novel or plot, but I did finally get to the important
part where Brutus betrays Caesar and was glad because my teacher went on and on about it
during the school year, and I wasnt quite sure what she was referring to. I was proud of myself
for trying the novel one last time, and putting my effort into it.
Reading and writing, especially reading, have opened up my thoughts and feelings to something
so much more, on a greater scale and level. Every word I come across is added to the collection
of words and saying in the library in my mind. Sometimes after reading a book, I feel as if the
characters and the story really happened, and I know and experienced it all with them on a
personal level. The more I expose myself to written works of art, and free writing, timed writing,
all of that good stuff and more, the more I will be able to grow as an individual human being.

Work Cited
Lamott, Anne. Shitty First Drafts. Readings for Revolutionary Writings. Stretchaccelerated composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2013. 229-232. Print