Greetings Adventurers & Parents!!
I am honored to have my dear friend and sister in Christ Ms. Janica Tempero as my guest blogger for the month of January. The topic this month is literacy. Literacy means you have the ability to read and write proficiently. Ms. Tempero is passionate about helping our youth achieve excellence will overcoming obstacles with reading and writing. Her story is a testament to what you can accomplish even when you have people saying you can’t do it. Currently, she is a 4th grade teacher at Cedar Park School in Selma, Alabama.
First, I want to begin by telling my own personal journey with learning. My experience with word knowledge, spelling, pronunciation, enunciation, and sentence structure dates back to my elementary school years. For 12 plus years, I experienced much ridicule and teasing from my peers and teachers about my weaknesses in literacy. This caused me to allow my struggle with literacy to define me as one who was not capable and not good enough, even up until my senior year of high school. I gave up on myself and turned to disruptive class behavior to escape any interaction with literacy. Consequently, by my senior year, I was still struggling to write complete sentences. Thus, I know very well the importance of the many facets of literacy because for a long period of time I struggled by choosing to live without this very important life tool. Without literacy, I struggled to fill out applications, to succeed in any of my classes, to perform well on college entrance exams, and to even properly communicate on the professional level via conversations and emails. Nevertheless, my transition to college in 2011 opened a new and challenging door of opportunity for me to explore literacy in a way that would highlight and eliminate my literacy weaknesses.
As I progressed through the Elementary Education program at AUM, I was granted a second chance to strengthen my literacy skills, while simultaneously learning how to nurture the literacy skills of future young students. Now, more than ever, I can say that I have intimately encountered the importance of literacy as it pertains to word knowledge, spelling, pronunciation, enunciation, and sentence structure. Word knowledge has three levels which are unknown, acquainted and established. The unknown level of word knowledge occurs when the students have no idea of a word’s meaning. Acquainted is the next level, and it is when a child understands the basic meaning of a word after some thought. At the established level, students’ meanings of words become easier, faster, and very supportive. Spelling is the process or activity of writing or naming the letters of a word. Pronunciation is the act of saying a word by sounding out its consonants and vowels. Enunciation is the way a word is said. For example, some people say in Alabama “I’m going to the sto”, but they mean to say, “ I’m going to the store.” Thus, enunciation is important because it helps to understand what is being said. Finally, sentence structure is the way a sentence is grammatically arranged, which mostly deals with proper use of punctuations.
As one can conclude, mastery of literacy is a lifelong effort, as there are so many words and so many of life’s situations that require it. All of the aforementioned facets of literacy (word knowledge, spelling, pronunciation and enunciation and sentence structure) set the foundation for survival in the real world. Every learner, no matter what capacity of learning they may find themselves in (street, school, church, work, etc) needs a strong literacy background to sustain themselves in this 21st century. Why is this? Good literacy leads to good communication, and good communication promotes progress, understanding and clarity in every situation.
Guest Author Bio:
Janica Tempero is a native of Vredenburgh, AL where she enjoys spreading the love of Christ. She is a recent graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, where she majored in Elementary Education. She is currently a fourth grade teacher at Cedar Park School in Selma, Alabama.