Advanced Essay #2 "The Young and Illiterate"

This essay challenged me to step outside of my, bare minimum, comfort zone. My goal for this essay was to provide possible reasons why a child may be having difficulties learning by using my own experiences as an example. Many may think that one just becomes illiterate by there own unwillingness to learn to read. In this essay I wanted to give an example of how you must take into account the disadvantages a child may be at when learning to read such as, material diversity, preparatory learning, and being able to relate and connect with the teacher. Something that I am most proud of in this essay is how I was able to create vivid scenes. Also my analysis of the quotes, I feel, are the best parts of my essay. One thing I would like to improve on is giving better introduction to my quotes. I feel that skill would definitely add emphasis to my writing.

ADVANCED ESSAY #2 "The Young and Illiterate"
There was a time, when I was only five years young, and I hated the idea of reading. Whenever I walked up those giant steps to school, right off of the yellow bus, and through the doors of the school and into the cafeteria in the basement. After, I took a bite of my sausage egg and cheese mcgriddle from the McDonald’s breakfast menu, the first period bell shrieks throughout the halls. I run up the steps with excitement as I do not want to be late to class and miss the opportunity to see my friends. The teacher of my Kindergarten class, Mrs. D, greets me at the door. “Welcome Jordan, are you ready to learn today?” she asks. I respond with a bright smile exposing her to the missing teeth in my mouth. Mrs. D was an older, big in weight, white woman. I was one of only three black children in her class. She often made all of us sit together, so it would be easier to teach us collectively, I now assume.

It is not the fault of the child when they’re are unable to read the selective material given to them. How can someone expect an urban youth to be able to relate to the material given by a middle-aged white woman that is probably living in a suburban area. Matthew Lynch brings up this important point in the writing,Black Boys in Crisis: Why Aren't They Reading?”, “ students (and particularly boys) experience disconnection when it comes to the authority figures in their classrooms. The K-12 teaching profession is dominated by white women, many who are very qualified and very interested in helping all their students succeed but lack the first-hand experience needed to connect with their Black male students.” (Lynch) This quote relates to me because I felt a learning disconnect to the material Mrs. D was giving me. Not only were the characters not like me, but the manner in which Mrs. D went about teaching me, made it very hard to learn.

I find my way to my seat and class begins. Mrs. D explains to the class,”Today we will all be creating and reading aloud to the classroom our own personal sentences.” My heart sinks. The idea of having to create a sentence is hard enough. Then, having to read that sentence myself and to the classroom would be a great embarrassment. My anger starts to build in my body like the smoke inside of a chimney after lighting a fire place. The class goes on and I refuse to learn the material. I put my head down as the rest of the class learns basic sentence structuring. Thirty minutes pass after Mrs. D gives us these instructions and she then tells the class that each student will now have to present their sentence.”Okay Jordan, you can come up to present now.” said Mrs. D. I responded by running out of the class and darting down the hallway to the bathroom. In the bathroom I ask myself, “Why am I so dumb? Why can I speak a language and not read that same language?”

Now that I have grown to better understand my previous state, I have came to the conclusion that maybe I was just at a disadvantage from the beginning. Leave out the fact that my teacher was not able to really teach me all of the necessary tools to learn to read, and then add the idea that maybe it was my parents fault. Maybe it was because I was never read any bedtime stories, taken to the library, or introduced to literature in preschool. G. Reid Lyon brings up an excellent claim in,”Why Some Children Have Difficulties Learning to Read”, “...learning to read begins far before children enter formal schooling. Children who have stimulating literacy experiences from birth onward have an edge in vocabulary development, understanding the goals of reading, and developing an awareness of print and literacy concepts.” (Lyon) I was not the kid that had an advantage in learning the properties of english literature before entering kindergarten. My experiences directly relate to the this quote because my kindergarten self is the result of a child who has not been involved in much preparatory work to better understand reading.

In conclusion, when encountering a young child that may appear to not know how to read, do not automatically assume that it is their choice to be illiterate. One must take into account that they're just children and they probably want to learn from material related to them. Finally, the teacher should be at fault if a child is suffering from a disconnection in the classroom that forces them to not be able to learn.

Lynch, Matthew. "Black Boys in Crisis: Why Aren't They Reading?" Education Week. N.p., 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
Lyon, G. Reid. "Why Some Children Have Difficulties Learning to Read." Reading Rockets. N.p., 12 Oct. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.