Literacy Through Reading and Writing

Introduction: My main focus for this essay was trying to write more directly. I  have been told many time that I write passively and have been working to get away from that. I’ve also worked on re-reading and re-working my work to make it better than ever. I honestly believe that I achieved that in this advanced essay. The part that I am most proud of or most looking forward to people reading are my scenes of memory. I want everyone who reads it to be able to picture the scene clearly without getting bored. As far as growing as a writer I think I have done a lot of growing between these two advanced essays and I’m eager to see what I come up with next. My next area of focus and improvement will be more focused around descriptive vocabulary and grammar.

I never thought I was much of a writer. I wrote a few poems here and there when I was younger but I never thought they were anything special. My father would boast about how easily the words would flow out of me, how naturally they came. Reading on the other hand was a cakewalk. Considering that I did not start to enjoy reading until the fifth grade, it was effortless. “Oh what do you have here?” I questioned.

“A book.” She responded.

“What’s it called?”

“The name of this book is secret.”

“Can you just show me the cover.” I responded annoyedly.

“I already told you the name of this book is secret.”

“Isabel stop messing around!” I demanded.

She flipped the book over to show me the cover. The title of the book was indeed The Name of this Book is Secret.

“Oh” I answered a little embarrassed. Even though my pride was hurt for being so frustrated, I was curious. I didn’t really like to read but all of the sudden I was drawn to this book. Why is the name of the book secret? Will anyone ever find out the name of the book? Who is Pseudonymous Bosch? Is that his real name? I needed all of my questions answered, so I made my way to the local Barnes & Noble to do some investigating. When I got my hands on the book I couldn’t have been more excited. At the moment I didn’t understand what I was doing. I was opening a door that I wouldn’t be able to close. I flew through the first book hoping to find all the answers, but I didn’t, but there were four more books in the series. Yet again my curiosity got the best of me and not too soon after I was anxiously waiting in line to buy the final book. When I finally got my hands on it, I knew I was never letting go. Once I started to read for myself, I caught on quickly. The words would connect and make sense in my head in a way that they didn’t before. I was actually comprehending the content and enjoying myself while doing it. That Christmas, Santa gave me eighteen wonderful books. I don’t remember being happier.

From Grothaus article, it seems clear that reading is a practice that has many benefits both physically and psychologically. A discussion about the relationship between reading and one’s writing skills might be an interesting place for the writer to go. In my experience, what I write does not reflect what I read. The two are definitely related, but this does not mean that reading leads to proficiency in writing. I grew up thinking that I was good at writing because I was reading well above my grade level. I never got bad grades in writing and I dabbled in poetry which everyone seemed to love. Plus, all the other kids who liked to read always got spectacular grades on their writing. There was a pattern that I saw early on: good reading equals good writing. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I realized that something about that system just wasn’t working for me.

“Alright class, don’t forget tomorrow is when you turn in your polished book review,” Ms. Dunn reminded us.

“I’m really about to kill this,” I whispered to my peer.

I only had to finish up the final paragraph, which took about ten minutes. I re-read what I wrote and closed my computer. All in all I was pretty proud. The next day I went to school and waited for lunch to come, I was satisfied of my work but I wanted Ms. Dunn to check it for any last minute mistakes. I showed up at her office right at the start of the period.

“Hey Ms. Dunn. Could you look over my review before I turn it in. This is the final version but I just want to be sure,” I asked

“Sure no problem,” She responded.

I shared her into my document and sat across from her, too anxious to see what she was typing, but sure were those fingers moving. Maybe they were good comments, I thought. I was so wrong.

“There you go, she said with a toothy grin on her face.” She closed her laptop and went to deal with another student.

I opened my document expecting to have to only make a few grammar edits here and there. I could not have been more wrong! All I saw were paragraphs worth of edits in the comment boxes. At first I kept my cool, fixing one error after another, until suddenly lunch was over and class had begun. That’s when I started to breakdown. I was running out of time until eventually I had to turn in what I had. After that class period I wasn’t feeling great about my writing but I was trying to stay positive. The next week I got my grade back on canvas - 79. That was the beginning of a pattern would continue through the school year. I took refuge in my books.

I never felt so incompetent and unsuccessful at writing. I don’t understand how someone who has read so well for so many years is unable to write well. Am I not paying attention to the writing techniques of different writers? Am I not comprehending the writing as well as I think I am? It’s stressful to know that writing a simple essay has to be a big production because you are constantly checking yourself on simple writing errors or areas of doubt. Writing still is a challenging area for me and no matter how much I read it doesn’t change how I write, and I’m not the only one who notices this. In the steps to become a better writer, I have been keeping a journal and working with a tutor to practice my writing skills and confidence as a writer. Because I like to read books I started marking my books and


"How to Use Reading to Become a Better Writer | Write to Done." Write to Done. 31 Jan. 2008. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <>.

"How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health." Fast Company. 27 July 2015. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <>.