I learned how to read and write in the English language when I was almost five years old. At the time my parents only knew a little amount of English and my cousin who was three years older than me who was still too young and unable to teach me a lot about writing in English. He would only teach me how to speak from what he had learned at school, so I learned how to speak some English by listening to him speak and by looking at flashcards that he had made for me with words above the subjects that were being portrayed. I also learned how to speak a little bit more English by going to pre-school. I truly dont remember learning more than just speaking English it was similar to a daycare center where I had more than enough time to play with my peers. My primary language was Portuguese. Both of my parents, who are Portuguese immigrants, were only able to teach me how to speak, read and write in Portuguese because it was the only language they knew.
I didnt learn how to write in English until I entered Kindergarten. I was put into a program where they specialized in teaching bilingual students how to speak and write proper English and excel as bilingual students. I remember that my goal upon first entering school was to learn how to write in English. I wanted to know how to express myself in the English language because I was aware that it was necessary in order to earn good grades and to succeed in school. I knew that I would make my parents very proud by acquiring and learning the language because it would open up many great opportunities for me in the future, which is what they have desired for me. During my childhood and to this day my parents always tell me to take advantage of every opportunity that I’m offered and that I should always try my best in school in order to accomplish all of my goals and become successful in life. This is why I realized at such an early age that I had to fully acquire the English language in order to succeed in this country which not only meant to speak English but also to be able to know how to properly write it as well.
I practiced how to write a lot in my own time at home because I really wanted to write correctly without the assistance of others. Every other week my teacher would have the class write journal entries about random topics. During most of the school year, I would kind of blank out and I wouldnt know how to write many words correctly, capitalize letters, or even when to end a sentence when we were given these assignments. Some instances made me feel like a complete failure and honestly made my confidence decrease as I observed other students writing with what seemed to be with no struggles at all. There were also instances in which my teacher would call on me to answer questions on how to spell certain English words and I didnt know the correct answer. Eventually, as the school year progressed I began to fully understand how capitalization and punctuation. I even began to practice writing every chance I got because I began to enjoy writing and I was excited because I was finally learning how to write proper English. I also continued to practice because I didn’t want to feel left behind when we would discuss our writing pieces in class as I felt in other instances.
Throughout the rest of the school year, I continued to copy the contents of children’s picture books at home whenever I had an opportunity. I recall copying the contents of books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and various other books by Dr.Seuss. I was motivated to continue to improve my writing because I didnt want to feel ignorant or incapable of writing proper English as I had felt when I wasnt able to answer questions in front of my class, which was extremely humiliating. I wanted to be assured that I was capable of doing something good with my life and that I was capable of succeeding. I knew that I was capable of writing English as long as I was determined.
Despite all of my struggles and moments of frustrations where I felt ignorant and
incapable of reaching the success that I had to endure in order to learn how to write in the English language, I have now grown to love the English language but not writing that much anymore maybe one day I will love writing again. My experience of learning the English language became important to me not only because I acquired and learned how to write and read better in the primary language of this country, but it has also defined who I am and I was also the first person in my household to speak the language. This has also reminded me that I am capable of doing what I truly desire and that I can accomplish my goals as long as I work hard for it even if there are struggles along the way. I am glad that I had to endure all of these struggles that I did in order to learn English because looking back at it, those struggles have allowed me to appreciate the English language and that they have motivated me to work hard for everything that I want in life in order to become successful.