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Vidal Carthon
Miss E.
UWRT 1103-036
16 September 2014
A Personal Literacy Narrative (Discovery Draft)
If my life was a biographical play, writing would be the antagonist and reading would be
the supporting cast. Why describe writing as an antagonist well a common trait of an antagonist
is the needs to cause the protagonist hardship and trouble over the course of the novel, for me my
life, even if shes not doing it deliberately. An antagonist plan and actions can cause trouble even
if shes not yet aware the protagonist is fighting her. But at some point, these two will come face
to face and only one will win. I never in my life had a true passion for writing. The idea of
writing always puts a cringe in my stomach to the point where I would find an illogical reason
just to avoid it. My personal favorite excuse is the I have a cramp in my leg. There is no reason
to work in this condition There are many factor contributing to my dislike of writing, from the
hand pain to the late nights working on final drafts. Reading is an entirely different ballpark
though. Unlike writing I have always enjoyed reading; this probably explains why I can
remember the first book I read by myself than what I wrote about in my last essay. Reading for
me is a common stress reliever while still providing me with entertainment no matter what the
genre. Reading gives me the opportunity to gain both knowledge and insight on ideas, opinions,
and thought on multiple subjects from a perspective different from mine.
I was first introduced to AR testing also known as Accelerated Reading after moving to
Fayetteville, North Carolina from Bloomfield, Connecticut in the second-grade. The goal of
Accelerated Reading was to motivate and excite children as they see their progress in reading

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development. The concept was extremely easy now that I look back. Read a book, comprehend
the books, and test on the book to gain your goal of points. There were some other factors like
reading a harder book would essentially give you more points. At the time I felt a little more
anxiety because we never tested on reading comprehension in Connecticut. I also felt a
disadvantage because Accelerated Reader testing began in the first-grade and most of my
classmates at Cumberland Mills already had some experience with this foreign type of testing. I
had no idea what to expect so I naturally became motionless in thought as my teacher continued
to speak of homework for the night. As soon as Ms. Sanders said, Make sure you all reach your
goal before the first quarter ends I dashed passed the cafeteria filled with day care students, took
a short cut through the playground, rushed into the west wing doors of the elementary school and
stumbled, into the library.
I had only visited the library a few times before this day. To my surprise the library were
one of the nicer building at my elementary school. As soon as you entered a painting of our
school mascot the Cub was plastered on the floor. To the left, was the front desk, which I
remembered pretty vividly because of the jar of scrumptious candy. On each aisle of the library
were puzzle statue of famous historical monument and figures. The library was filled with
thousands of books with all different sizes and colors, it was kind of overwhelming. While
roaming down each aisle of the library for the right book, I asked myself questions like What
type of books should I get? How many points would this book give me? How long would this
book take me to read? and so on and so forth. The worriedness must have been apparent through
body language because eventually the library assistant, Mrs. Ives, came to help me. Mrs. Ives,
was a tall lean female in her mid-thirties. She had golden curly hair and her eyes, framed by long
lashes, were a bright, sky blue. Her skin was cream-colored and had a straight nose that aligned

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perfectly with her hollow cheeks. Her demeanor seemed very intimidating she turned out to be
one of the nicest faculty members at Cumberland Mills. She guided me to some popular series
amongst my peers. By the time I left the library I grabbed an arm-load of books which would
later turn out to be some of my favorite childhood books like Cam Jansen, Jigsaw Jones, and
Goosebumps. My motive at the time was to only to choose books that would help me achieve my
AR goal.
Once I got home, I flopped onto my bed, and scrambled through my book bag in search
of a good book from my new collection. The book that caught my eye was by Matt Christopher
named the The Kid Who Only Hit Homers mainly because it was sports related. While reading
I noticed myself drifting off into another world, imagining myself as the main characters
throwing, catching, and hitting each baseball. I read for hours and found that I was really enjoyed
the book and found it interesting. After reading the first, I continued to another one, and then
another one. Before I knew it I had read three books in a week. I continued this trend for a few
more weeks and found out that when I read just for enjoyment that I not only read quicker but
more efficiently. I ended up completing my goal for each quarter normally three to four weeks
earlier. Accelerated Reading I think accomplished their goal in motivating me to read. Though
there was an incentive and a goal for reading I found myself reading for more than that. I began
reading for fun and entertainment, and it soon became a hobby during my elementary school
Unfortunately the next year a new obstacle was placed on me that I wasnt able to excel
in like AR testing. Something that I never really got over to this day. This time around it didnt
involve reading but instead writing, specifically the 3rd grade writing test. Once again my 3rd
grade writing test was a standardized test that evaluated our ability to write. Though having the

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same goal as an AR test the 3rd grade writing test had a higher value and significance because
passing or failing would determine if you would move on to the next grade. So I found myself
back to square one faced with the same anxiety as before. Butterflies flew fast in my stomach,
my nerves I tingling as if I was being tickled with a featherYou would have thought after already
facing a similar obstacle that I would have some type of confidence but I didnt.
Some internal factors or rather personal issues going into the writing test was that I felt
my chicken-scratch hand-writing made writing harder for me. By this age most teachers
expected legible or clear hand writing, but I never developed that trait. Even now I dont have
strong hand writing. My hand writing is so bad that most people could probably write more
legible with their non-dominant hand than I can with my dominant hand. I have shown progress,
but I to this day I get constant criticism from teachers not being able to read my hand-writing.
For example a math teacher once called me out in front of everyone asking if my 4 was
actually an A. Im pretty sure if I could I was blushing and truthfully if we werent allowed to
leave the room without permission I would have darted out of class faster than a speeding bullet.
The constant embarrassment of my hand writing was definitely a morale killer. Since my hand
writing was not legible that also affected my grades when a good majority of time I knew I had
put the right answer. I do blame myself though because I never actually tried and put in effort in
writing just for practice. A constant struggle for me when writing was also trying to learn the
taught format for writing a great essay for the writing test. Five paragraphs along with five
sentences, Intro, Body, Conclusions just didnt click like multiplying and dividing. I would sit in
class every day fighting to understand Ms. Rogers Guaranteed Steps on passing the writing
test. I can remember from an early age learning the purpose of each part of an essay and trying
to apply it to my practice writing. Each time Ms. Rogers would say, No Vidal, do it over! I

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would angrily stomp back to my desk as other students would move on to the next activity. I
found myself knowing what I want to write about it, but when it came to putting pen to paper and
didnt help that my teacher didnt guide me through it.
So I took both not having legible hand-writing and in a sense having no guidance in
proper writing with me to a writing test that would, in the end determine, if I moved on to the
next grade. I remember having both hands on my head as the proctor passed out the pencils,
paper, and the actual essay. The stress I allowed myself that day was unheard of and probably
not healthy for any human body. What made matters worse was that the essay prompt was a
complete curveball and I had no idea what to write about, the one thing I was actually good at. I
began panicking thinking of ways to begin my paper while also keeping on the clock that seemed
to be moving at the speed of light that day. My palms began to be soaked as if I had just washed
my hands and my face began to get really hot. By the time I actually finished my first paragraph
I only had 20 minutes to finish the rest of my essay. At this point, I was just a balloon filled with
anger and stress ready to explode. I pushed through the essay not writing in any type of structure
and with no care about what I was writing about. The goal was just to get it over with. To keep
things straight to the point I had to take another writing test that summer just to make up for the
unreadable mess I had written previously.
I eventually got over my years of elementary school and glided pretty smoothly through
middle school in regards to writing and reading. During my high school years, I was even placed
in honors English Classes. One of the biggest regrets I had during my High School life was not
taking AP Language and Composition. To make up for my mistake, and being the competitive
person I am, during my senior year I challenged myself to take AP Literature. AP Literature was
filled some of the top students of my graduating class, you know, the Dukes, Yales, and

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Harvards of Jack Britt. Knowing what I like to call my competition I pushed myself to be
better than anyone in the class. Sometimes this meant going to school with only four of sleep and
sleeping in classes, you know art appreciation and health class, the usual nap classes. AP Lit
helped me analyze books in ways that I never thought I could imagine. I always had a problem
when summarizing, but never when I put my own thoughts into what I wrote. My teacher Mr.
Watkins always preached during that class the importance of analyzing over summarizing I
can imagine him now with his booming voice saying while we read, Try to remember not only
how, but why the author choose a certain setting, diction, and conveyed a certain mood. My AP
Lit class helped appreciate reading more because books like Heart of Darkness a book by
Joseph Conrad and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley showed me that reading can be more than
entertainment but have messages of great importance. My constant reading and comprehension
of advanced level books correlated to my writing. I learned how to apply the words and images
used in the prose in the test allowed me to apply it. I began understanding the language, the
visuals, the subtext, and being able to explain it, helped to further my description of the meaning
of the piece. Even when came down to breaking down and analyzing the dreadful poem I could
handle it and re-create it with my own writing style. So by the time AP exams came around I felt
as prepared for as ever for not only the multiple choice section but also the writing portions of
the exam. I did so well that I passed the exam with a 4.
As I reflect on my literacy in present day I find myself with some of the same weakness
and strengths as before but I also see some growth. Where I continue to lack in neat hand writing
I began to excel in the overall understanding of writing. I grew by not not letting writing be an
annoying antagonist and I continue to find ways to work on defeating any troubles I have in
writing. Though I still hate writing with a passion and sometimes doubt my writing ability I can

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say that I have seen worst writers than myself. I find myself learning each day how to improve
my writing and applying what I read in a book to my essay and narratives.