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Personal essay: the meaning of literacy

The meaning of literacy is the ability to read and write. Since I am now in America, Literacy has a new definition for me, because I have to speak and write in English instead of my native language. During the experience of learning English, I encountered language barrier and culture shock. Now looking back the time when I was struggling, I know I have to manage the hardships and learn from them so that I can make myself a better learner.

Writing has always been a struggle for me. An old school method of writing was my savior on my writing progress. Because I complete paper by rigid rules, for example, I write my paper as the typical five paragraph essay, the first I write the introduction, then write the five body paragraphs with topic sentences respectively, at the last is the conclusion. With this method, my paper can barely be cohesive and logic enough. This process helps me have a well-structured essay, and it also allows readers to have a clear sense about my paper. There is a good reason for using this method. Writing in my native language has a different way of expressing ideas from writing in English. I have to adapt a new style of writing because of the cultural difference. This method is old school, but it helps me to come up an organized essay in my beginner phase of a writer.

Writing is the very important skill to use both in school and in my later on another career. Writing is essential life skill to have. To be on the same starting line with my peers, I start to read many kinds of literature in English to enhance my English interpretation and writing skill, for examples, the book “lord of the flies,” “Hamlet”, and “animal farm.” I begin with difficulties when I read those books because there are many vocabularies that I do not know.

Sometimes I just cannot focus, and the words inside the book seem to become smaller and smaller. After the obstacle occurs, I go to the website searching for the translated version of the book I read at that time. Before I read the English version of one book, I would like to read the translated version first. I find the translation is very helpful for my understanding of the original book, and I start to enjoy reading more and more since then.

Reading helps me a better writer. Firstly, through reading many kinds of literature, I absorb many new vocabularies and open-minded point of views. I would say reading is the best preparation for writing an excellent essay because reading provides knowledge and insightful ideas so that I can write a thoughtful essay. The thinking process while reading a book can improve my way of thinking. Reading and writing both important and interconnected; reading can be seeing as an input of knowledge, and writing can be seeing as an output of knowledge.

During the middle of my first year in college, I improved my writing skills by practicing many different genres of writing in my writing class. One thing has changed, a small portion in the writing which is the transition sentence. I used to move from thought to thought only by using words like: “therefore, however, nevertheless, and furthermore”. Because I used to be taught from my TOEFL class that it will make the paper more professional using those words between sentence to sentence. After the feedback from my writing class, I start to use my thoughts to connect my sentences in my writing. This helps me become more persuasive for readers.

Curiosity for learning is the key to success. One of my writing teachers used to say: “just write what is in your mind.” However, my mind goes blank when I start to write. Sometimes, writing can make me nervous and stressful. After years of struggles, I trained myself to become a better writer. The first step is to brainstorm, and it helps me to come up with ideas and the entire structure of the paper. Through Learning the ability to read in English and to write in English, I learned the cultural background behind the literature. With my development in my English skill, I gradually mastered it and had a taste of different culture.

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