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Literacy Narrative

In: English and Literature

Submitted By myjay
Words 1146
Pages 5
Decoding the Alphabet Letter after letter, together in different combinations, large and small, individually they are just the alphabet. However, these letters in different combinations are a mystery to me. I’m just wishing I had a decoder ring like orphan Annie did, or an enigma, maybe that way I could decipher the secret of this hidden message that is before me. All I can see is groups of letters; an alphabet soup of sorts. This is the way I felt while in the first grade. The teacher had set a progress report on my table that was to be handed to my parents. I ran all the way home exited and impatient. I don’t even remember looking both ways when crossing streets along the way. I just wanted to get home as fast as I could. As soon as I arrived, I just flung the door open and ran into the house searching for my mother. I found her in the laundry room folding clothes that she had just finished ironing. At home, my family always spoke Spanish, English was hardly if ever used. So I practically threw the progress card toward her.
“Mama mira lo que me dio la profesora para ti!”
My mother took the card and looked at it. Then she flipped it over and looked at it again. She had a puzzled look on her face as she turned it back to the front. I just looked up at her with big round eyes waiting for an explanation as to the secret that it held.
“Que es lo que dice?” “Se lo daremos a tu padre cuando llege.” “Pero que dice?” “Tendras que esperarte.” Great, why won’t she tell me, what the big secret is? I will have to wait for my dad to get done playing G.I. Joe. That is what he called being in the Army. The grandfather clock in the corner of the room just ticked and seemed like the hands would barely move. I could not tell time with that clock, but I knew that while mom was making dinner, my father could walk in at any moment. As I was washing my hands before dinner I heard the door open and close. It could only be one person, my father. I ran into the kitchen, and there he was standing tall in his camouflaged uniform. We knew better than to bother him before he had his dinner. Just a few more minutes and I will find out what is on that card. May father had finished his dinner and was now sitting in his favorite chair listening to the radio. I was in the kitchen bothering my mom about the whereabouts of the card so I can hand it to my father, but she kept telling me to wait until she finished the dishes. All I could think about is when all of this waiting would end. So in order to speed things up, I helped my mom in the kitchen. Finally it was time. My mother slowly walked over and handed the progress report to my father. My father sighed and took a look at the card. I stood close by and just watched as his eyes glanced over it. Then he looked up at me. “Oh boy, here it comes;” is all I could think. Then he looked down at the card, then me, and card again, then once more at me. His mouth started to open. I leaned forward waiting for the answer to my question. Then he closed his mouth while letting out a sigh. Then I asked, “Que es lo que dice?” My father just stood up and walked to his office. I did not know what to do. Why did he leave? Why won’t anybody tell me what it says? He came back with a notebook and a pencil. Now I am just confused. He made me sit at the dining room table and then placed a notebook and pencil in front of me. He opened the notebook to the first page and in the first line he wrote some letters, twenty-four in total. I just looked at it and thought, “Okay, what is this?” “So, your teacher says you’re the only one in class that cannot spell their own name.” Great, my father only spoke English when he was mad or upset. My father said:
You will write your name on every line, front page and back page, from beginning of book to end of book. And you will sound it out every time you write it. You will not leave this table until you know how to spell your name. If you do not learn when done with this notebook, I will get you another and you will continue. You will learn even if we have to kill every tree on this planet.
Great, I’m a dumb ass, I thought to myself.
My father towered next to me and helped me with the first page. I wrote down as I sounded each letter of my name; J-U-L-I- and so on. I did this line after line, page after page. I was angry, pushing down on the pencil hard. The lead kept breaking, my father brought me a pencil sharpener and a box full of pencils. “I have all night,” he said. My hands felt like paper weights; my fingers were in pain and felt as if they would fall off at any moment. Half way through the notebook, and I continue to say my name as I write C-E-S-A-R- and so on. I don’t want to do this, I am angry. The angrier I get the more I concentrate. Little do I realize I was learning. Three more pages to go and I will finish. Finally, I see the last page and I start to get excited. Then I realize I can actually sound out the different parts of my name and I know which letters to use. It dawns on me, writing and sounding out is helping me read and spell. I’m exited by the time I get to the end of the page and I can demonstrate to my father that I can read and write my name.
A few days later I picked up a book titled Pipi Long Stocking that had been sitting around the house for a while. My father bought it for my mother for her to read to us but never did. It wasn’t until I was about 13years old that my mother learned English. I took that book and copied every single word on paper. By the time I finished, I could read the book. It was not too hard; the words were repetitive and after a while, I knew what the code was and how to desipher it.
Word Count 1130

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