This writing helped me progress as a writer. My goal for this essay was to explore the ideas that society controls what is "literate" based on tests and how that affects how people perceive you. Society has this system where it gives people a number, how society only sees people as a value on a scale of being literate and nonliterate. I am proud of my analysis, in my last essay I really wanted to improve my analysis and I think I improved it greatly. Something I can improve is my word choice to make it seem more vivid and can grapple the reader's attention more.
“Everyone, please break up into your reading groups and work on your projects. Group five, please meet me in the back for our biweekly meeting.”
Biweekly means every two weeks. I was one of three people who knew what biweekly meant in third grade, before the teacher taught it. The other two people were of course, in the same reading group as I was. Reading group five was really the group that couldn’t be placed anywhere else. We were more “advanced” than the other kids our grade.
Just because I took a test and my scores were different from those of my peers meant that people treated me differently, expected different results from me. Society wants to put a number on you, in order to be intelligent, you have a higher value on that scale of what society deems “literate”. Ever since I was placed in reading group five, people have always expected me to be someone else.
“Who wants to play kickball?!” It was a warm spring day and the elementary kid who proclaimed was the tallest kid in our grade, the most popular individual.
“I’ll play?” I squeaked out, wanting to fit in because surely, if the popular guy does it, then everyone wants to do it.
“Don’t you want to… I dunno, read a book or something?”
I was struck silent, why did people think I didn’t want to have fun? I can have fun! Why is reading not fun and why can’t I choose to do something else right now? Questions swirled in the tight confines in the small elementary school head of mine and I turned away briskly from the popular kid I just wanted to be like moments ago.
I didn’t play kickball that spring afternoon, instead I went to my other “intellectuals” from reading group five and sat at the benches. The three of us didn’t know what to say to each other. So we sat and watched the game that we all wanted to join in silence.
The funny thing about how society perceives being “literate”, is that the middle ground is so difficult for people to reach. Especially when one is growing up and being told that females aren’t supposed to be this smart. You are either too dense or too intelligent. As a little girl in third grade, I felt out of place simply because an exam told me I had a 5th grade reading level.
I didn’t want to be the person everyone called “the smart blond” or “the girl who is two reading levels ahead of everyone else.” When I was at this age of insecurity, I had to be like everyone else. I needed to be average, someone people knew by name.
The harsh reality of undergoing that change is different. Around fourth grade I stopped reading like I did years before. When I had spare time I did something else, something that regular kids did. I played video games, went to the park, watched cartoons, and put all my books down. And all of these things were great at the time, but slowly and slowly I wasn’t as advanced in the literature section in my exams.
After a while however, I wasn’t satisfied with the new person I became. I missed my books and the worlds I created based on ink on paper. My reading and writing grades did not push me as much. I became miserable in this shell of normality. I learned new things definitely, and found other small hobbies, but I played right into society’s hands and changed myself not because I really wanted it, but because I thought I needed to.
Mike Rose explains my point that learning that being “normal” isn’t as accomplished as people make it out to be. In I Just Want to Be Average Rose flushes this out with, “That woke me up. Average? Who wants to be average?” I discovered that throughout life, people and society are going to treat you differently no matter what you do. And this idea of what’s “normal” can be applied to almost everything, such that a higher reading level isn’t always sought after and a lower reading level is treated as not as smart.
People will expect different things based on how the education system says you fit or mold into their system. In my case, I was expected to be a lonely book smart girl who exceeds in school, however I am much more than that. People are always much more than the confines that society puts around them.
In the long run, from my experiences in reading group five, I can say I’ve definitely learned a lot more than sentence structure and context clues.