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Ariel Thompson

November 30, 2014

Its Universal
Daddy lets go! I said. Come on Daddy, lets go now! Right now! I remember calling
these words out as today was the day that I had been looking forward to. It was the day that my
Dad was taking me to the library to get my library card made. Before the camera flashed to take
my library card picture, I remember standing up straight and tall with a head full of colorful
beads and a glancing over at my Dad. I felt such a sense of accomplishment. It was something
obtainable that was mine. The library card felt as if it was my ticket into the world of books. I
felt like I had a new outlet to the world. This was almost fifteen years ago, but I remember this
day as if it were yesterday. This memory stays planted in the back of my mind because it marked
a milestone for me. I was finally able to go to the local library and pick out books to read and test
out the new knowledge and reading skills I had learned in Pre-K, along with the new skills I was
currently learning in kindergarten. The reading and writing skills I learned then were the bases of
all the knowledge and understanding I have learned and will continue to learn as I go further into
my education.
My reading literacy was most influenced by my pre k, kindergarten, and 1st grade
teachers and my parents. I vividly remember learning word sounds in kindergarten such as the
ch, th, and sh sounds. As my teacher would call out the sound multiple little voices echoed
her, filling the room with never ending sound effects. Every day towards the end of pre-k and
every day in kindergarten, I added more skills to me reading literacy abilities. We would watch
VHS tapes that focused on certain prefixes and repeat after the instructor. I was extremely eager
to learn more and enthusiastic about knowing more word sounds, as well as being able to notice
whenever I heard others around me using words with the sounds I had learned about, especially
my parents. That word has the sh sound in it Momma, I would say. Yes baby youre right! It

Ariel Thompson
November 30, 2014

does have the sh sound she would say. My Mom and I would then have a conversation and I
would repeat more words with the sound in it that we were discussing. I developed a lot of my
reading literacy outside of school with my parents. Every week, I would bring multiple baggy
books home from school and read them to my parents. The baggy books were targeted to help
me remember and practice the reading skills I would be learning for the week. The excitement I
had towards completing the baggy books without messing up or asking my parents for help was
through the roof! Making my parents proud of my literacy abilities made me feel like I was
accomplishing so much more than just reading.
As a child, I was babysat by a member of my church. I referred to her as Nanny. My
Nanny was and still is a very special person to me. Along with my school teachers and my
parents, my Nanny triggered my curiosity of learning words at a very young age, 3 and a half to
be exact. One day I walked into Nannys house and I began to write squiggly lines and drew
circles on a chalk board that I saw. What cha got there? she asked me. I looked up from my
mater piece and said look Nanny Im writing. She smiled at me and said thats my good girl.
Later on that day, Nanny and I both began writing on the chalk board. I wanna spell apple
Nanny I said. So my Nanny wrote the word apple onto the chalk board. To the best of my 3 and
a half year old abilities, I grabbed the piece of chalk and traced over the letters my Nanny had
dashed out in front of me. My smart girl! she said. My Nanny taught me how to spell my first
word, apple! At any and every chance I got to write the word apple or to orally spell apple I
would. Apple, A-P-P-L-E, that spells Apple. At such a young age, my Nanny made me literate
to the word apple. It may have only been one word, but it started my curiosity about wanting to
learn more words. After accomplishing the word apple, I learned how to spell mom, dad, dog,

Ariel Thompson
November 30, 2014

cat, yes, and no. In my young mind, my writing literacy was extremely big. I thought my
vocabulary was broad!
First grade is when I really began to learn and understand more challenging words. Every
Monday, our teacher would make us go to the dictionary and pick out five words that we were
unfamiliar with. Each day leading up to Friday would prepare us for learning to spell, pronounce,
and correctly use the words in a sentence. We would make cross word puzzles, word searches,
and create our own stories using the words. First grade really helped me to develop on how to
use context clues to determine what the meaning of unfamiliar words were. First grade is also
where my reading literacy skyrocketed. I read on a 6th grade reading level. I began taking AR
test. The AR test were computer generated tests that tested me on my ability to recall information
that I read about. First grade was truly a turning point for my literacy.
As I continued my primary education, of course I became more literate with my reading
and my writing. In second grade, I decided to learn a new literacy. I began to learn how to play
the piano. This was like a whole new world to me. Fifty two white and thirty six black keys in an
endless line staring back at me. There was so much knowledge to be gained about these 88 keys
from learning flats to sharps to scales to chords. I didnt know how all of this would be possible
but, I was on a mission to become the next child prodigy. My teachers name was Melia Eckard.
She was a young, soft spoken and always had a welcoming smile. She was always eager to teach
me new concepts, my energy and excitement for learning to play the piano as well as to read
music fed off of her love and enthusiasm for teaching piano lessons. I began playing the piano in
August of 2003. I had a set of yellow beginners books that I was learning from. For the first few
months, Mrs. Eckard and I would go over the fundamentals of playing the piano. I learned about
the treble and bass clefs. Every good boy does fine and Face were the sentences Mrs.Eckard

Ariel Thompson
November 30, 2014

taught me to remember the lines and spaces on the treble clef. And all cows eat grass, and
good boys do fine always were my little silly sayings to memorize the notes on the bass clef. I
endlessly practices writing these notes of the staff. In my first few months, I soon realized that
there was a lot more to playing the piano than just banging out a few notes. There was a lot of
vocabulary and a lot of important details to put into my muscle memory. After about a year of
lessons, I wasnt Beethoven, but I was able to read, write, and understand music.
As I grew into my musical literacy, I realized that playing the piano and being able to
read and comprehend music was much like reading a book. When you first sit down and view a
piece of music, its similar to looking at a cover of a novel. You recognize the key signature, the
time signature, the tempo, and sometimes the tone of the piece. In other words, just like some
book covers, when you are able to understand what written music is saying you can sometimes
get a hint what the piece is about. Then as you are playing the composition, you learn the details
of the piece. Just like as if the more you read a book, the more knowledge you know about the
book. Eleven years later, I am no longer taking piano lessons, but I still am able to read and
comprehend written music. This literacy is all because of Mrs. Eckards teachings and dedication
to help me learn about playing the piano. The amazing thing about this is once you learn it, you
know it, its universal! Mrs. Eckard was so right about this. Playing the piano and having a
musical background has stuck with me and led me to participating in choral music.
Growing up, I always loved singing whether it was Oops I did It Again by Britney
Spears, Survivor by Destinys Child, or even U Got It Bad by Usher. I would jam out in my room
with my Barbie microphone and my boom box that is so big it would now be considered
obsolete. I was obsessed with music and it was something I always had to be around. In fourth
grade, I joined the Viewmont Elementary school chorus and I was able to put the musical

Ariel Thompson
November 30, 2014

literacy that I learned from Mrs.Eckard into another perspective. Knowing information about
music scales, note values, intervals, and piano key pitches I was able to utilize this in vocal
music. The musical literacy I learned through piano indeed proved itself to be universal just like
my instructor had said. At such a young age being in a chorus class, I had an advantage over
some of the other children that didnt quite know how to read the music or how to determine if
the next note to be sung would be higher, lower, or the same pitch as the note before it. Their
illiteracy to reading music made it more complicated for them and gave me an unfair
advantage as my classmates would jokingly say.
As I continued to grow with choral music, I realized that my musical literacy grew as
well. I was able to automatically look at music and determine the key signatures in my mind.
Therefore, I was able to process the scale of the music before I would even begin to sing the
song. In middle school, I learned that my ability to sight read music also improved. In high
school, I was able to perfect all the skills I learned from elementary and middle school choral
programs. It was so amazing and intriguing that from a few years on learning how to play the
piano, I was able to tremendously grow with my musical literacy of reading and writing music. I
was even more amazed at how much of a positive affect my musical literacy had on my choral
music abilities, and for this I am forever grateful.
Webster defines literacy as being educated, cultured and having the ability of being able
to write creatively. Over my life, I feel like my literacies have demonstrated this description to
the tee. I have mastered reading, wrote plenty of essays formally as well as creatively, and I have
artistically expressed myself through written and oral music. My reading and writing literacies
stemmed from my elementary school teachers, my parents, and my Nanny. My musical literacy
cultivated because of Mrs.Eckard. These people have taught me things that I will always cherish

Ariel Thompson
November 30, 2014

and always keep close to my heart. Without my reading, writing, and music literacies I would
have missed out on a lot of opportunities that have come my way. I am eternally thankful for
these people as well as my literacies and could not fathom my life without them.