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My Feelings On English Language

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My feelings about the English language, including both grammar and literature, have changed several times throughout my life. These changes took place as I was influenced by my family and by the different teachers that I have had throughout my academic career. As a young boy, I knew very little about the English language, but the instruction which I have received throughout my academic career has worked to shape my feelings about the English language.

My parents began reading to me when I was very young. When I was only six months old, my parents bought me a number of plastic books. Using simple picture books, my parents taught me to recognize pictures of objects and how to associate those objects with their specific names. I learned how to talk when I was only a year old, and my parents continued to read to me in order to help me build up my vocabulary. I specifically remember my mother reading Sesame Street books to me. When she read to me, she used a different voice for each of the characters. I heard the same stories read to me so many times that I began to memorize them. I was able to recite my favorite stories before I could read them for myself. While I was unable to read, my skills with the English language were developing as I learned and used the words that I heard my parents read to me. My parents, my first teachers, made learning the English language an enjoyable experience for me at a young age.

I began attending preschool at the age of three, and I have a number of memories from that period in my life. My preschool teachers made learning about the English language fun. They ingrained in me the letters of the English alphabet using a number of techniques. I remember gluing uncooked macaroni noodles onto construction paper in order to form different letters of the alphabet. The letters or words that we learned were usually associated with a fun story or with a specific color. The teachers also read a great deal to me and my fellow classmates. Story-time became something that I looked forward to. Because my preschool teachers made learning fun, I looked forward to learning more about the English language at a very young age. My parents further reinforced what I learned in preschool by continuing to read to me at home.

When I was five years old, I began attending kindergarten. Once again, my kindergarten teacher helped me to enjoy learning about the English language. My teacher, Miss Mackey, was very encouraging and gave our class a number of assignments which made learning the English language fun. The focus of our study of the English language dealt with strengthening our vocabulary and spelling skills. I remember having a weekly assignment which helped to enlarge my vocabulary. Each week, the class was told what the letter of the week was. We were told to find pictures of items which began with that particular letter. These pictures were cut from magazines and glued onto a piece of paper. At the end of the week, Miss Mackey would choose three or four students to stand in front of the class and explain their pictures. Not only did this exercise help me learn a number of new words, but it also taught me how to stand up in front of people and speak about my work. I remember how encouraging Miss Mackey was when it was my turn to stand in front of the class. Her guidance and support helped me to be confident in front of my peers, and I was able to better articulate myself and to develop my ability to use the English language in front of an audience.

When I entered first grade, I was separated from the rest of my class for the reading part of my education. I was sent to another classroom where students with more advanced skills with the English language were taught. I felt greatly encouraged by being placed in this group of students and worked even harder in order to remain in the group. The English teacher, Mrs. Mento, had our group do projects that stimulated our creativity as well as taught us more about the English language. We read plays aloud with one another and even acted out a few of the plays. Mrs. Mento would not just let the students in our group read words. Occasionally, she would ask us what a particular word we had just read meant. I learned the importance of not only being able to read new words but also the importance of understanding what the new words meant. Mrs. Mento made looking up words in the dictionary seem like a fun game of discovery, and this encouraged my desire to learn about the English language. To this day, I rarely read over a word that I do not know without looking it up to make sure that I understand its meaning in the context that it is used.

My second year of grade school stands out the most to me when I think back on my experience with the English language. I disliked my second grade teacher, Mrs. Walker, for most of the school year. However, I now realize that she was one of the best teachers that I ever had. Mrs. Walker realized that I was not greatly challenged by most of the English and reading assignments which she gave the rest of the class. As a result, Mrs. Walker pushed me extremely hard. Instead of placing me into a normal reading group, she gave me extra reading assignments and worked with me individually in order to challenge me and my reading skills. I disliked Mrs. Walker when I was her student because I believed that she was picking on me, but I never gave up trying to do my best at the work she gave me.

Mrs. Walker also stands out in my mind for another very important reason. Mrs. Walker gave me my very first novel. Up until that point in my life, I had only read short books and stories that were designed for early readers. When Mrs. Walker gave me the novel Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, by Donald Sobol, my life changed. I remember being intimidated by what I considered to be a very thick book, but I decided to read the book to see if I liked the story itself. I have never looked back. I can honestly credit Mrs. Walker with turning me into a genuine bookworm. Of course, my parents supported my newest interest, buying me just about any book that I wanted. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I owned over seven hundred books. Mrs. Walker saw that I had the potential to master the English language, and she refused to ignore that fact.

Mrs. Walker's caring and influence in my academic career affected the remainder of my years in elementary school in another way as well. She had me take a test near the end of the school year which tested my academic skills in general. My score on the test was high enough to permit me entrance into the school's Enrichment program. I remained in the Enrichment program for three years. Students in the program left their regular classes during the time that was set aside for reading and English. The program was designed to develop both math and writing



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