From Spanish to English: Becoming Literate
Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” It was in first grade when I first learned how to read. Mrs. Garza was my teacher and I will never forget her because she is the one that taught me how to read, write, and speak English. If it was not for her encouragement and push she gave me I would not have been where I am today. It was a book that contained a collection of short stories. Words like ‘mat’ and ‘hat’ were in this book. After that year my mom was so happy and proud of me that she bought that book from the school. To this day I still have that book and I look at it from time to time. I was born and raised in McAllen, Texas but the weird thing is that I am the only person in my whole family that was born in the United States! My parents are from Monterrey in Mexico so of course they speak only Spanish with a little bit of English. My first language was Spanish and I did not start speaking English until the end of first grade. I had already learned my English alphabet in kinder but I never wanted to speak or use English for some reason. Mrs. Garza would have to force us to speak English but my friends and I never wanted to! One day, after trying so many methods, she put little jars in each of the groups in the class. She told us that for every person that she would hear speak Spanish, she was going to place a marble in the jar. At the end of the week whoever had the least marbles would get rewarded with either a candy or and item of some sort. That is how I was forced to speak and write English. It was then that I started talking to my friends in English as well. At home, I was still speaking Spanish with my parents and siblings. I already knew my alphabet so I began to read, write and speak English. To this day, I thank my parents for teaching me Spanish first because it has been very useful. I have never really liked writing. I am in a way kind of like Junot...
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