Literary Autobiography

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Academic Literacy Autobiography

As a young child, I was always aware of books and the difference between books for children and books for adults. I would not say that I grew up in a family of devout readers, but I did grow up in a family of individuals who appreciated the value of books. Although my parents never seemed to have time to simply sit and read frequently, my mother had engaged with college-level texts in her adulthood, and both of my parents saw the benefit of exposing my sister and me to books at an early age. There was always a bookshelf in my house packed full of textbooks and enormous tomes with dusty, creased spines. We also had a full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica (which I recently found out is going out of print). It would be an exaggeration to say that these books intrigued me because they represented knowledge. However, they intrigued me because although they sat there and collected dust for years, my mother refused to throw them away. It was impressed upon me very early on that books were important, and that throwing them away was wrong. I did not get it completely at that point, especially because those books were incomprehensible to a four or five year old, but I understood that it was something that would be important when I was older.

In Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction and What is Literacy? James Paul Gee discusses the contribution that primary socialization has to an individual's primary discourse and later ability to acquire other forms of discourse. The primary discourse in my household was similar but not precisely the same as the dominant discourse of this country. My family was a typical working class family, and even prior to pre-kindergarten, I understood the concepts of school, reading, learning, of art, and working. My parents and older sister were the sponsors of my introduction to literary discourse, and they played their parts in varying ways. My mother made me aware of college and nonfiction...