Flores 1 Eric Flores Professor Jessica Schley English 101 September 9, 2013 Maybe Literacy Doesn’t Suck! Throughout life you will realize that people are negative and try to discourage you by telling you things like “you cannot do it”, and “you will never be anything in life”. While others try to encourage you to be all you can be. This can occur in school, work and even in your personal life. Many people have influenced us students to read and write. These individuals are known as literary sponsors. Reading and writing are very important to anyone who is trying to learn. Reading and writing are both a foundation of any subject in school. If you were raised with good or bad sponsors they can affect your learning tremendously. If someone was raised with bad sponsors I believe that they would struggle because they would not have someone who cares and that would push them to learn. A good sponsor would ensure that the student was doing everything they were supposed to do to succeed. I am glad that I was blessed with the great sponsors that I have! Some of my sponsors include family members, past teachers, youth minister and even me. My father would have to be the one sponsor that has influenced me the most. My father is one of the main reasons why I am in college right now. He is the one who taught me how to read and write. Before I was even enrolled in school he would sit down with me and we would read small books that I could understand. One book that I remember the most is an old Spanish book. He really encouraged me to read this book because he always wanted me to learn Spanish (something that I still need to accomplish). My dad would also help me write, especially my Flores 2 name. I can remember the first week of kindergarten I was one of only a few who could write their name. My father grew up with four brothers and four sisters; I can only imagine how hard that was. He later went to a trade school where he earned a degree in welding. He understood how important an education is. My father believed that I would have better opportunities and possibilities if I had an education. This is why he really encouraged me to do all my work and earn good grades in school. My dad is a hard working man and does not want me work almost every day like he does. I would say that my father has influenced me historically. His past has influenced me to get an education so I will not have to go through the same things that he has gone through. Since my father started me off reading at a young age, I feel like I was a step ahead of other kids in reading, until I lost interest in it. My sister would have to be another sponsor of mine. She is truly one of the best writers that I know. I think if she really wanted to that she could be a successful writer of short stories, since she has such a great imagination. Every time that I have a writing assignment she would read over it and tell me what I did wrong and which parts were written well. My sister has affected me in a social and cultural way. She has really influenced me to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Social media can be a good and a bad thing. It can be good because it helps you meet and interact with others but bad because it has affected my writing. Most people on the internet do not spell anything write and use a lot of acronyms, now I have to prevent myself from using it when I write. This is also a culture influence because this is how our culture is. Overall my sister has influenced me in a positive way more than a negative way which is why she is one of my sponsors. Flores 3 One event that has influenced me both positively and negatively was when I was in the 3rd grade. One day I was pulled out of class and was taken to the library. There I was tested for reading. A couple of days later I was informed that I placed high enough to join AIG (academically intelligently gifted) for reading and math. It made me feel good that the school thought that I was smart when I didn’t think so. Once a week a few students and I would meet for AIG. We would do reading assignments and would even read books. I remember we had to read a book that I thought was big. I wanted nothing to do with that book. I was the kind of kid who wanted to be outside playing rather than reading a book. Having to read that book as a kid really had a negative effect on me. As the years went on I really started to enjoy going to AIG and I realized that they were just trying to help me in the long run, which they did. AIG influenced me in a social and historical way. I met a lot new people. I even meet one of my best friends which is now my roommate. AIG influenced me historically because once I joined my reading and math scores both went up. Another sponsor is a close friend of mine. He is my youth minister, his name is Jason Malinsky. Jason is a great sponsor to me in many different ways. He has taught me so much about my faith and has done nothing but encourage me to read more and more. I am constantly talking to him and asking so many questions. Either he is tired of me or really wants me to learn, but he personally bought me three different books. I have read a good part of each, and I have really enjoyed learning. He has truly influenced my reading in a positive way. I do not read all that much, but since he has given me those books I have been reading a lot more. I think that Jason has affected me socially, culturally, and historically. He has influenced me socially because I have met so many new people and made many new friends. He has definitely influenced me culturally because in my culture going to church is very important. I Flores 4 think him often for helping me be the Christian that I can be. Lastly there is a historical influence. The bible takes place thousands of years ago, and he is always telling me about his past and how everything ended up bringing him back to Christ. His stories really influence me to be a better Christian and to continue my religious journey. My freshman year of High School I was enrolled in non-honors classes, and I think that had an effect on my grades. A lot of people in those classes didn’t care and didn’t pay attention all that much so I followed in their footsteps. One example was with my good friend Randy. We used to get in trouble almost every day. We would always write on each other’s paper and sometimes even ball them up. My teacher was never happy with us, and our grades were average. The next year I signed up for honors classes and I learned a lot more and my grades were greatly improved. Standard classes had somewhat of a cultural influence on me. Where I am from, the dropout rate is very high and most people in my freshman classes never made it to the 10th grade. I realized that taking standard classes was just not an option for me and my future. My next sponsor was a great teacher that I had. I really enjoyed his class, but he taught me something that will hurt me in the long run. In 10th grade my English II teacher, Mr. Batton assigned many books for us to read. I never really liked the idea of all the reading assignments, but the books we read were very interesting to me and I enjoyed it. The only bad thing that Mr. Batton taught me was to use Sparknotes.com or Cliffnotes.com. These websites will give you summaries of each chapter in any book that you search. The websites helped me tremendously, because I wouldn’t have to read each book cover to cover, but it would later hurt me! The very next year in English III whenever I had a reading assignment I would just sparknote it instead of reading the book. The bad thing about that was my teacher would make sure that the questions on the test could not come from sparknotes, so I had to start reading again. Flores 5 I would say that Mr. Batton influenced me culturally. Our culture today is always trying to find the “easy way out” of things, which is exactly what I was doing. Next time I will just read the book to prevent failure. Our culture can basically be summarized as being lazy! If we do not change soon, who knows what the future will be like? Not many people have influenced me for writing skills like my 11th grade teacher Mrs. Thompson. She really helped me find some easy and simple ways to write. She would tell us to start off with finding what the prompt was asking us to do. Then we would establish who our audience will be so we know how to write the paper. Finally she told us to make an outline. An outline helps in writing by pointing out the main ideas of each paragraph of the paper, the introduction, each body paragraph and the conclusions. Whenever I turned in a writing assignment in that class, she would tell me that I was a great writer, even though I never thought that I was which was very encouraging to me. Mrs. Thompson’s advice on writing influenced me historically because I have been using those same steps in every writing assignment. I have really noticed a difference in my grades because of her. I would also say that she has influenced me socially. I am majoring in engineering and writing is a major way of communication, so the better I write the better the jobs can get completed. My last sponsor is my 9th and 12th grade English teacher, Ms. Britt. She influenced me in many different ways in both reading and writing. She taught me two easy ways to comprehend what I am reading, which is something that I severely struggled with. One way was to stop after I read each page and try to summarize what I read, if I didn’t understand then I would re-read it. Another way was to highlight important information so I know exactly where to find it. I never realized how something so simple could help improve my reading so much. When I would turn Flores 6 in writing assignments she would always be upset with me. She would tell me that my writing was good, but I was not creative at all. She wanted me to be as creative as I can be. Later on in that year I wrote some great essays and I had one of the highest overall grades in the class. Ms. Britt has influenced me historically. She has helped me become better at comprehension which is something that I have struggled with throughout my learning career. What she has taught me will help me for every future reading and writing assignment. Each teacher has taught me something different but I will never forget any of it. I know that I can use what they taught me throughout my life and especially in my career as an engineer. Most people like to see themselves as a hero, victim or rebel. I think that I am all three of them. They each consist of how other people have treated or influenced you in reading and writing. This is why I choose myself as my last sponsor. Each and every one of my sponsors has influenced me and the way I work differently but in the end, nothing that they said means anything unless I put it to use. A great example of me being a hero just happened with the past two weeks. I was assigned a book to read for my “Intro to Engineering” course. My roommate did not think that I would ever read it, but I did and I proved him wrong. It felt great to accomplish something, especially when people doubt you. I am also a Rebel. If there is an assignment that I am not interested in or I do not like it, or even just do not want to do it, then I won’t. When it comes to reading assignments I tend to get lazy and make up excuses not do it like “I’ll do it later”, or “I don’t want to do it”, but later never comes around. I would say that I am a victim of myself as well. I have put it in my head that I am not a good reader and writer, so I do not try as hard. If I Flores 7 had a better attitude toward literacy I feel that my work would not suffer as it does now. It all comes back to me and my work ethic. As my football coach always said “it’s the little things that make the big things work”. This quote explains a lot about football and about life. It’s the little things that each sponsor taught me that has made me the reader and writer than I am today. Even though I did not like most of the things that I had to do to get where I am now, I would not change it because it only helped me for the best! If I would have any advice for anyone I would say start reading and writing at an early age so you will succeed throughout school.