My Literacy in America
Gloomy. That’s how I remember my year of kindergarten. It may not have been quite as dim as my memory shows, but my fear darkened that phase. I am not quite sure how my age affected my perception of things, but my first memories of this country I don’t regard as pleasant.
If I had come to the United States as an infant, I would have been better off. Not only because infants don’t communicate using words, but also because my stage in literacy did not coincide with my peers’. As a five-year-old, most of us have already learned to speak. I was five, just like all the other children, and I spoke as the other children did, but I spoke Portuguese and my classmates spoke English. In essence, I was racing with time. Although my age blinded my insight toward the race, I was trying to catch up to my peers in that I had to learn to speak, as well as follow the new things taught to us in kindergarten. Though the objectives in kindergarten are nothing native English speakers would consider challenging, for me the word “nap” stood as an obstacle!
My first day is as clear as a sliding glass door. I walked into the classroom hesitantly, frightened of what the new surroundings would entail. At first the other children didn’t notice my differences because my physical appearance differed only slightly from my new classmates’. But it wasn’t long until they discovered the new addition to the class. The American kindergarteners formed a circle around me. To them, I must have been this neat new kid who came from a whole other continent. For me, they were attackers, and their weapon was the tongue. I cringed at every foreign word shot at me. How could they be so...
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...lways pictured it as a task to accomplish so that I could fit in with my colleagues. After the death of my uncle, because the language was a connection to him, I found myself using the language to provide a link to him.
As I progressed from grade school to higher education, I realized that I had grown to like reading and writing. I often listened to the complaints of assignments from my peers, and I could rarely identify with them. "I think this paper is going to be fun"; don’t be caught dead saying that out loud! At this stage in my life I find enjoyment in having time to convey my emotions on paper out of free will. I can’t imagine how I would feel if a sudden lapse appeared in my schedule and I could read for my own gratification. I would go ballistic! Since these incidents are highly unlikely, I will be content in polishing my skills through schoolwork.
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