Adolescent Literacy By Jimmy Santiago Baca And Malcolm X

2482 Words 10 Pages
The word literacy is defined as a person’s ability to read and write a sentence. According to the article “Adolescent Literacy”, the literacy problem is getting serious in America because the students feel frustrated and discouraged to read and write when they are in school. Students without a diploma will face problems in getting a good job or promotion to a higher level. The authors, Jimmy Santiago Baca and Malcolm X were having an illiteracy problem when they were in prison. Jimmy Santiago Baca is born in New Mexico and grew up without a proper family. Baca was caught dealing drugs when he was in his early twentie and sentenced to prison. He also gave free readings and speeches about his experiences within the country. His story “ A Place …show more content…
Both Baca and Malcolm X were having problem in understanding the words, yet this problem pushed them to overcome by using the dictionary. According to Baca, “ I would set my dictionary next to me, prop my paper on my knees, sharpen my pencil with my teeth, and begin my reply” (200). Baca learned how to read and write a letter by using a dictionary. For instance, he used the dictionary to find the meaning of each sentence and tried to guess what Harry wrote to him. Baca was learning the vocabulary words from the dictionary to help him with reading and writing. Indeed, this helped him to understand the importance of knowing how to read and write, and he would use the new words anytime or anywhere. Sooner, Baca learned the words from the dictionary to understand the things he read, such as religious pamphlets and was able to write a complete sentence. Whenever he had any trouble understanding the information he read, he would refer to the dictionary and look for the meaning of the words. Consequently, Baca was able to understand the words and knew how to use the word correctly in his writing. Not only did using the dictionary to help Baca’s literacy, it also helped to improve Baca’s English skills. From this, Baca became a successful author who gives speeches all over the country. Due to Baca’s limited learning material, this required him to work harder than Malcolm X had. Malcolm X asserts “ I saw the best thing I …show more content…
Baca and Malcolm X were feeling frustrated with their inability understand the words and this pushed them to work harder to learn by reading. Baca tells us, “ I had trouble. It seemed each letter was fighting me. Reading was frustrating because each letter slowed me down. I had to remember what they meant when combined” (197). With his inability to read, he was unable to understand the information that he looked for. As an illustration, Baca was trying to read each letter and sound out the word. He tried his best to understand the information so he might able to find out the real meaning of the sentences. By turning the frustration into a positive action, he could learn the reading and writing at his own pace which led him to become a good reader and writer. In addition, he changed his way of thinking to motivate himself by not getting frustrated easily. For example, he learned more religious principles from a church volunteer which show him a different learning mindset. From that, he was able to improve his reading skills and he was motivated to learn more. From having more dialogues with people, Baca was able to communicate better and his feeling of being frustration disappeared. From learning how to turn the frustration into positive action, he felt a great sense of gratitude to the people who helped him to learn in prison. By letting go of his frustration, he was able to change his life and

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