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...
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