Literacy development is a process that takes place over time. For this reason, no universal explanation exists for the spread of the reading culture globally. To grow and develop literacy skills, input from several people is needed. Just like constructing a house, many people are involved, especially during the formative stages of its foundation. More professionals take part in the designing of literacy programs and devising their outlook, delivery, and application. From this scenario, it is apparent that people play a different role in our literacy journey and if we are keen to borrow from them, we can nurture our reading skills effectively.
An Important Moment in My Literacy Development
An event in my formative stages of life influenced my literacy journey quite profoundly. My mother is one of the people who helped shape my early reading and writing skills when I was a child. Being an English and literature instructor and avid reader, she used to borrow novels and books from the school library to read at home. Her love of books was instrumental in making her a speaker with a perfect command of the English language, which she intended to be. During this time, my mother also brought home children’s books and encouraged me to read them critically and thoughtfully to improve my literacy skills which seemed to be rudimentary then. One memorable moment is when she brought home a novel titled, ‘Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band’. It is about a jazz-loving rooster who starts his band to win a local contest. For some reason, I related very much to this story. My mother often asked me random questions from the book to ensure I grasped every detail in it.
I was so fascinated by the story that I used to carry the novel to school and continue reading whenever I had a chance to. I could read it to my classmates and even assume the character of the rooster. I retold and even adapted the story in my fictional narratives. My English teacher was quite fascinated by my reading skills and introduced me to more children’s books from the same genre. At one time, she got curious and wanted to know how a young pupil like me could have such a great interest in writing and reading. I explained to her that my mother had shaped my perspectives by introducing me to books at an early age. She motivated me to keep on with the trend and decided to guide me so that I may excel in school spelling contests. In many instances, my mother advised me to draft essays and present them to her for marking. Whenever I made mistakes, she always encouraged me by saying, “you can always do better than this.”
She advised me that whenever I write an essay or a composition, I should assume that I am explaining my thoughts to a very young child. Therefore, I should be as detailed and clear as possible. Through her guidance, I learned to communicate my ideas clearly and concisely to avoid straining the attention of the reader. I also mastered the art of argumentative writing whenever I take a position on a controversial topic.
My mother also ensured that the home environment is conducive to reading. She could guide my siblings and me in discussing various issues at the dinner table. Then we had an opportunity to correct each other. My mother made it clear that we were to follow the rules of grammar, which included punctuation, proper sentence construction (subject-verb agreement), and spelling. We often held open discussions where everybody had a chance to articulate his or her views. Through these interactions, I learned how literacy makes one appreciate contrary opinions and diverse perspectives.
All my encounters as a young kid laid down an important foundation for developing early writing and reading skills. I think that the experience I had reading my first book marked a turning point in my literacy journey. It inspired my love for reading and helped me hone my grammar and reading skills at an early age. My subsequent encounter with my English teacher at a young age nurtured me on oral efficiency and fluency in my communication. The numerous debates and writing tests we took at the dinner table taught me how to develop a plot of a story and articulate my views. I can now assert that literacy is a process that requires time, effort, attitude, and persistence (Maureen et al., 2018). At the beginning of it all, it may not be interesting but as time goes by an insatiable hunger for books develops.
Literacy development has significant impacts on increasing creativity, academic outcomes, and real-life excellence. Any event in life can be a turning point towards a fulfilling literacy journey. For me, this moment came when my mother bought me my first book. The encounters I have had since then in school, at home, other social places have been instrumental in honing the foundational literacy skills I acquired as a child.
Maureen, I. Y., Van der Meij, H., & De Jong, T. (2018). Supporting literacy and digital literacy development in early childhood education using storytelling activities. International Journal of Early Childhood, 50, 371–389. Web.