My Literacy Timeline

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    My Literacy Time Line

  • My First Reading

    My First Reading
    At two, I read my favorite books, memorized the words and shocked our visitors with my precociousness. My nasally voice beginning, “This is the baby book . . .”
  • Making up stories

    I loved making up stories. The way clouds looked in the sky, what dogs and dolls were thinking when we weren’t looking, princesses in foreign lands. Then, I went to school and got in trouble for writing my brother’s name next to mine on my papers; we couldn’t write stories, had to practice other things, and I learned never ever write your brother’s name next to yours. At home, we were Kelly and Bobby, but at school I was no one. I stared out the window to make up the stories in my head.
  • Dad read to me

    We moved. My mom stopped letting me read at home. I might get fat. School was where I was supposed to take care of that stuff. She didn’t like my dad reading, either and said, “If your dad wants to read, then he can read to you.” They tell me he read Little House on the Prairie every night until it was finished. I do not remember. No more memorizing books or showing off for guests. No book certificates at the end of the year; when kids filed up the aisle of the gym to collect, I sat and watched
  • Writing

    Moved again. Pershing just started the Joseph Robidoux unit. I love it. We read poems and stories and the best part we go on field trips all over town. Then the teacher asked what I liked and what I learned. I’ve never been asked to write about what I liked about a unit or what I learned.
  • What did I do wrong? What did I do right?

    What did I do wrong? What did I do right?
    Moved again. We wrote research papers. I chose snakes because I hate them and we have them all around our yard. No one told me how to write a research paper, but we had to have a folder and an index. I wrote 4 ½ pages. The teacher gave me a B- for Science and a B- for English.
    I look at the report, now, and wonder how I got that grade. I copied the text directly from the encyclopedia. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, copying so very carefully in my best handwriting.
  • Unfortunately

    We wrote a Fortunately/Unfortunately story. I LOVED the assignment. It was the first time I could show my teachers how creative I was. I got a C-, not sure why. I stopped writing for the teacher.
  • Story of my life

    I wrote “My Life Story”. I loved this assignment. I wrote about life, my family, my hiding places and the things that scared me and the things I loved. My teacher said it was VERY GOOD. I got a B. Why? Isn’t VERY GOOD an A? I read it, now, and there is so much that I can read between the lines. Things I didn’t write because in addition to turning it in to my teacher, my mom had to sign it to show that she agreed with my life story. There were a lot of things I couldn’t write about.
  • I stopped reading, too

    I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and mom even let me read it at home. I loved it. I had to write a summary, and when I got it back, the teacher had written, “I thought it was Anne who survived…” I read the entire book and I got it wrong? I’m stupid.
    I stopped reading for this teacher.
    Now, I look at that summary and wonder what the teacher was thinking. He gave me a 75/100. Why? He told me that I needed the setting and time in the heading, but in the first two lines I wrote the information.
  • My 8th grade teacher

    On Facebook, my 8th grade English teacher tells me she’s not surprised that I’m a teacher. Funny, because I didn’t do well in her class, was always placed toward the back of the room, and I remember nothing about her class but the heavy book we carried, Nancy Uehlin’s Nike tennis shoes and feeling that I wasn’t smart enough to participate in class discussions.
  • My freshman year

    My freshman year
    My freshman year, we read Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey. This was the best class ever. I loved my teacher, her gum chewing, the fact that she was pregnant with twins and came to school every day to tell us something new about the babies. She put us in learning groups, where we talked about what we read, and for the first time a teacher put me with kids who were smart and did their homework and I learned so much about the two stories. I made an A that year. I also wrote a story I gave to the s
  • I got kicked out

    I got kicked out of English class. Don’t ask. The office staff got tired of me after a full quarter and a half—or they were afraid that they couldn’t keep giving me a B for not attending class and not doing any work, so they stuck me in a novels class. All I had to do was read and not cause any problems. I got to choose from the list of books students going to college should read. Then, when I finished, I talked to the teacher about the book. This class changed my life.
  • The Newspaper staff

    I loved photography. Had taken a class in middle school. I wanted to be a photographer, but I wasn’t a cool kid; I wasn’t rich; I wasn’t “in”, so I couldn’t be trusted with a camera, I couldn’t be on the photo staff of our paper, but they would let me write…or try to. I wrote several small articles, two with by-lines. Our newspaper staff went to Missouri Western for Media Day, and I realized I had options. I had never thought that college was a choice for me.
  • In college

    In college, I was placed in remedial English. I aced it and had glowing reports from my teacher, which I understood thoroughly. There was no question why I had the A or how I could achieve the A if I wanted it. It was hard sometimes, but I wanted the A. When I quit school after my first semester, it was because I gave up on myself. It’s hard to combat years of questioning yourself.
  • I stopped questioning myself

    When life kept throwing curve balls in my direction, the only way I survived was through writing. I wrote and wrote and finally wrote myself back into college. I read and I read, I wrote and I wrote, and no one was there to tell me to stop, and if they did, well, the old Kelly came out and said things we don’t want to talk about. I became a tutor for those in remedial English at Missouri Western, when I graduated, I taught the course. I was finally validated.