Re: snapshots

Tue, 9 Jan 1996 21:09:20 -0500

Is it possible that our reflections on our own acquisition of literacy need to
combine some elements? For example, if I remember what learning to read and
write was like at an early age, and then I combine that with the interests and
emotional components of later life experiences, I think I can begin to get at
where my students are. This kind of reflection, I hope, gets around problems

> And comparing our memories of our
>own abilities at that age isn't fair, because by the very nature of the
>trade we're now in, we are biased toward skill and performance in written

and the fact that almost none of my community college basic writing students
have had literacy experiences like this:

>I often think about this. I see students in my classes who are a lot like I
>was: bookish, verbal, rascally. And I think about what I read: I read lots of
>books that ppl consider classics - <reluctant snipping of bodice-rippers>.

That is, my students' literacy and other life experiences don't come together
the same way that mine did when I was in college. IMHO,this doesn't mean their
cognitive development is *different* from mine, just at a different stage
than mine was when I entered college as an aspiring poet and voracious consumer
of novels.

Isn't the potential there for my students' interest in literacy,
and consequently their writing ability, to take off? Especially if their
English classes are really reading- and writing-intensive? (And if they have
some control over what they write and read, just so long as they do a lot of

Alice Trupe