Writing And Reading: How My Dad Changed Me as a Writer

February 28, 2018
By mayamahoney BRONZE, Evanston, Illinois
mayamahoney BRONZE, Evanston, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

A significant person in my reading and writing experience is my dad. My dad has helped me with my reading and writing experience throughout my whole entire life, and he is still helping me now. When I was younger, my dad would always be the person to read books to me. But, I much preferred the made up stories that my dad would tell me. As I grew older, I learned from his profession. Being a Political Science and Sociology Professor, he was always writing. After writing a paper, my dad and I would go over it and change mistakes and errors. He would help me better comprehend passages that were difficult for me to understand. He read out loud The Pedagogy of the Oppressed to help me grasp its ideas. Reading and Writing hasn’t come easy to me. I’ve never been the type of person who could conjure up a bunch of words and put them in the perfect sequence that would make them sound poetic or gripping. I’m not the type of person who can read a given passage and immediently be able to dechiper its meaning, tone, mood, etc. I can’t easily read a prompt and write an essay about it in a short amount of time. But, my dad has been patient and helped me become more confident as a reader and writer.

I remember before elementary school, I was never intersted much in reading or writing. I could understand a few basic words, and write my name, but that was extent of my abilities. I sometimes preferred to play with my books like they were one of my dolls. I had a collection of picture books at home that I would force my parents to read to me. I remember my dad reading me The Giving Tree, Curious George, Chika Chika Boom Boom and several more classics. But my favorite books were the ones that I wrote myself. For Christmas and my birthday, I would receive book-making sets for writing your own book. I would draw the pictures and my dad would help me write the stories that would go along with them. We would take the pages that I wrote and the pictures that I drew and send them to the company that created the set. They would put the material into a hardcover book, so it looked like I was a real published author. One of the books I “wrote” was titled, The Night of the Day. I wrote it when I was 4 ½. Although I don’t remember too much about making this book, my dad told me he remembers the exact day that we wrote it. We wrote it during the first winter we moved to Illinois. We were sitting at our old big wooden table, and I was sitting in my high chair. I would draw the pictures and tell my dad what to write. My parents would secretly joke that you had to be “high a kite” to understand what my book was about. The Night of the Day would go off on completely different tangents every page, and it was impossible to follow what was happening. One page would be about a mean moon and sun, the next about an evil heart, and the next about a King and I getting married. But, at the time, the book made sense to me!

More than anything, I loved when my parents would tell me made-up stories. I would beg my dad to make up a story in which I was the main character, and kids from my preschool were supporting characters. Ballroom dances and fashion were key components of every story. I prefered made-up stories with me as the star to being read a book any day.

I went into elementary school not being a strong reader or writer. I had gone to a Montessori preschool, and they didn’t drill me in reading and writing like many other popular Evanston preschools did. I remember struggling to read “The Carrot Seed” with my Kindergarden teacher. My reading ability didn’t affect my friendships, but it did concern me. I still liked made-up stories and being read to, but I didn’t want to stand out for not being able to read words that looked like a foreign language to me. The best day of kindergarden for me was when my dad came into our classroom to read. Parents would often come into class on Fridays to make a snack with some students in the kitchen (my dad came in and made Micky Mouse shaped pancakes one day) or read to the class. One Friday, my dad surprised me by coming in to read. He brought on of my favorite books, The Rainbow Fish. I felt so proud that MY dad had come in and that he was reading one of MY favorite books to the class. For some unexplainable reason, this day restored my broken confidence, and made me a little less bothered by my low reading skills.

As elementary school progressed, my kindergarden confidence plumeted again. During reading groups, I noticed that I would have “easier” books than the students in other reading groups. I noticed that I was always in a lower spelling groups than most of my friends. When I was in second grade, I received a below average score on the reading comprehension section of some standardized test. The school took my 7 year old test score very seriously. They put me in a speical reading group, and told my mom and dad. Because of the hype the school made, my mom thought that it was a good idea to get me a tutor. Throughout elementary school, I had various tutors who taught me commas from semicolons and how I should comprehend a selected reading. I hated working with tutors because the only real things they were teaching me was how to do well on standarized testing. I decided then in second grade that I didn’t like reading and writing because I wasn’t good at it.

Throughout middle school and high school, English and Language Arts classes have been a battle for me. I have always had trouble analyzing passages and sources. I’ve struggled to write what I believe are meaningful papers. I’ve done poorly on reading and writing standardized tests, such as the ACT and practice AP exams. While my confidence is through the roof in my math and Spansih classes, I feel timid and doubtful in English and history. My dad has helped me a lot with my “dilemma”. He has been patient and a saint when it has come to helping me with my writing. Throughout my life, I could (and still can!) always count on him for advice and direction. He has helped me believe in myself, my ideas, and my thoughts. My dad believes that I am a strong writier. He says that when he was my age, he thought that he wasn’t a good writer either. So who knows, if I stick with it, maybe I’ll be a professor who writes a lot too!

The author's comments:

I wrote this piece as a tribute to my dad and the patience he has had with me.

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