The literacy I have today is from the members of my family who have been influencing me since before childhood, the education that was provided to me, experiences I have been through, and where I have been brought up. Aside from my personal life, I have been impacted by media, and books. Social expectations and what is shown as “regular” influence many people, including myself to have good literacy.
Growing up, the people who I was surrounded by most were often reading newspapers, magazines, or other forms of writing. The education in my family varies greatly, ranging from middle school to graduate school. But, regardless of education, everyone in my immediate family is capable of basic reading and writing, which is where I believe I am at an advantage. No matter who I turn to, help will always be an option. When it comes to writing something like an essay, if I need help there is always a relative that will read it over for me and make suggestions. My literacy is impacted by them in a good way because I happen to be lucky enough to have them helping me when needed. As a child, my grandmother would read me a story before bed every night which would calm me down. The stories I was told are what got me initially interested in reading. Now reading doesn’t just mean learning about a perspective or events. Because of my grandmother, it represents my childhood and good times when I was first being introduced to literacy. They established what I consider normal and right. Getting older may change how I view what they taught me, but I will always see it as normal in that time. Reading and writing was part of their everyday lives and now it is part of my regular day because of what they embedded in me as normal. I consider them my first teachers.
Like most children, I was very impressionable when I was younger. What would be shown on TV could usually influence me to do something or want to do something. So growing up and seeing shows where mainstream television/movie characters liked reading or thought it was cool would make me want to read in order to be similar to the characters. This impacted my literacy by making me think reading and being smart were cool which would result in me reading books as a kid. I owe some of the literacy which I have today to the characters like Rory Gilmore or Harry Potter that I seen as inspirational on my TV. Understandably, this representation on a big platform such as TV is refreshing considering at one point in time things like smoking and drinking would be promoted to all age groups and now reading and writing are more likely to be advertised and promoted. They were leaders and influences that affected not only myself, but millions of children worldwide. TV was not alone in encouraging a stubborn 5-12 year old Will to read. Books were also a major contribution to that. Great books can devour your sense of time and completely engulf your attention. When I started independently reading in elementary school I got a book from the library titled “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. Once I started reading it I just couldn’t stop. A book about pre-teens surviving middle school appealed to someone like me at the time because middle school was in the foreseeable future and the book(s) would make me think everything was going to be alright. Books are more than just words. They are escapes from reality and are personal connections. Wanting to find out what happens next and being thrilled about situations that could be similar to your own or situations you have no connection to draws you in to keep reading. It takes good writers to make avid readers.
I believe my generation has the largest number of expectations in comparison to any other in terms of education and literacy. We are expected to go to post-secondary school more than any other age group. If we choose not to pursue further education, we are generally looked down upon. In the media it is shown that if you only have a high school diploma than you are a “loser”, “lazy”, or have no solid good future. All these expectations and ideals projected onto us prompt me to better my literacy and develop my skills so I can hopefully make it somewhere and be respected. Reading and writing well is a must for many programs after high school from arts to sciences. Personally, I can see how those expectations are good and bad. They are good in the way where kids are more likely to care about literacy because most of the time they are needed to. Can be bad in the way of putting people down as if they are not good people because of their struggle with literacy. Literacy is a substantial part of the world we live in today from written communication to reading information. Overall, good literacy is important but it is not necessary to live.
Everything that is known to me about literacy today comes from the influential people in my life who taught me the essentials and basics I needed, what was presented and exposed to me through entertainment like books and movies, and me striving to improve my literacy because of who I want/am expected to be. Literacy is the basis of my education and very important for modern communication. My hope is to keep personally progressing with literacy. Importance of literacy differs per person, but for me it is an essential part of my life and expression.