I was about five years when my mother started teaching me how to read and write in
Chinese. I remember vividly how I hated those days; learning, reading and writing alphabets was
merely a burden to me. I was a playful child and wished for nothing if not hanging out or playing
with other kids. Therefore, my mother’s efforts to imprison me for studying made me hopeless.
However, my mother utilized this trick to ensure that my first steps of literacy were successful.
She always encouraged me to learn the alphabets as much as I can because, through that, I could
be in a position to comfortably read other stories or learn to write my personal stories.
As time went by, my interests in studying have taken a different turn. When I was twelve
years old, I realized that I was doing pretty good in numbering and therefore, grew more interest
in studying sciences and mathematics. This made me ignore studies related to literature or
languages. However, at the back of my mind, I have always known that there is nothing as
important as learning how to communicate in other languages. Such understanding entirely
changed my literacy experience when I finally joined the high school in another country.
As a Chinese student, English is thought to be among the few options to select as a
second language. First, I wasn’t aware of my skills in literacy and therefore never had an idea of
how to improve on the same. My first experience was painful; English wasn’t my first language.
The school rules barred us from speaking vernacular; therefore, if anyone was found speaking,
writing or reading other languages rather than English, the punishment was severe. However, any
effort to read or write in English was quite the contrary. The school management would reward
such a student and applauded with a ticket to attend conferences in higher institutions. I
remember making a lot of mistakes each time I wrote a note or a short statement. I was always
forced by the circumstances to memorize every word I learned in class or came across in
conversations. Due to the fact that I didn’t like writing in English, it prompted me to make a lot
of grammar mistakes in my compositions. My teacher would underline almost every word in my
compositions and essays; this further broke my heart and demoralized me so much.
One day, one of our best students in the class saw my struggles and encouraged me. She
advised me accordingly and gave me links to articles and movies that taught about the English
language. Immediately, I learned that it was time for me not only to be literate in Chinese but to
learn my second language as well. I tried as much as possible to teach myself how to read
articles written by others; I watched many movies that were aired in English and later, I was able
to gauge my writing level. Wasn’t this an achievement? Indeed my teacher could see the
difference. He has been there for me by encouraging me to press on, do more research, and
watch more English videos to improve on my literacy skills. Till date, English has been a
measure of intelligence in my life and a ladder to determine how I’m progressing with my formal
This narrative is entirely about my struggles in learning English as my second language. I
have specifically focused on the experiences I had when I enrolled in high school. The main aim
of writing this narrative is to introduce myself to my teacher and peers through a description of
how exactly this experience has shaped my attitude towards English as a language. I’m
optimistic that when my readers read this narrative, they will be in a position to understand who
I’m and my literacy background as well.
To my peers, I encourage you to point out any mistakes if any. Through this, I will be
able to learn and gauge my understanding when it comes to writing in English. That will propel
me into writing a nice literacy narrative in my final draft.
Bullock, R. H., Goggin, M. D., & Weinberg, F. (2013). The Norton field guide to writing. WW
Clark, C., & Medina, C. (2000). How reading and writing literacy narratives affect preservice
teachers' understandings of literacy, pedagogy, and multiculturalism. Journal of Teacher
Education, 51(1), 63-76.
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