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My Functional Literacy

Brooke Kelly's picture

When reflecting on this assignment, one memory in particular came to mind. While my story is not specifically a story about a breakthrough or an epiphany when I all of a sudden knew how to read, it is a story of literacy, and ways in which my understanding of a storyline helped me play a role. When I was young I had a series of fairytale books. Out of all of them, my favorite was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. My older sister is twelve years older than me, so by the time I began to learn to read she was in college. I had always looked up to my sister and wanted so badly to impress her. During one of her visits home I went to her and informed her that I had been learning to read and had mastered this skill, which was far from true. I held my The Twelve Dancing Princesses book in front of my, careful to stare at the pages studiously, and recited the story from memory. While my sister was overly impressed, when she reported my success to my parents, they saw through my act. While this was only a temporary success, one could argue that although I could not yet read, I was literate. I was able to entertain my sister by telling her the story, while also demonstrating a certain cunning, although it was a deceptive one. If literacy here means judging my success at reading, I would have failed. However, if literacy had been considered my ability to entertain and communicate the story, it could be considered a success.


alesnick's picture

playing with definitions

I really appreciate this play on the meaning of literacy.  Your story shows how an awareness of how to perform literacy can indeed grow faster, and be put into practice, faster than knowledge of de-coding words. You knew what the text was and was for -- what you could do with it -- before you could read it technically.  And this literacy was part of your social relationships, in this case with a sibling.  Very interesting!