In the beginning, I had some problems with my writing, reading and critical thinking, but after I took the class, English 96 it improved me in all those areas. Despite writing being a complex process, it is a skill that without a doubt can be nurtured to blossom with frequent practice and thoughtful guidance. Many successful writers today must attest to the fact that it took them many days of practice, a critic from their mentors and most importantly the passion and will to be a good writer. A writer should be able to connect their thoughts with that of the reader, to keep them engaged and slowly take them through the journey of their thoughts. However, the reader has to meet their end of the bargain to be able to connect to the thoughts of the writer. They must be keen and patient enough to understand and analyze the thoughts of the writer. Reading is a skill too like any other.
For one to be a good reader to be able to decipher the meaning of the written text and to appropriately analyze any written literature they need to have good reading skills. These skills are acquired through practice and thoughtful guidance from parties that are considered good readers. Critical thinking is also a tool that these readers need to possess to adequately connect with the writer’s thoughts. They need to appropriately attenuate the texts and come up with sound conclusions based on the writer’s thoughts. Below, I will take you through my progress as a writer, reader and a critical thinker over time.
Initially, I was a poor reader, I experienced difficulty in distinguishing argumentive, narrative and expository writing. More so, during the in-class assignments and group activities. Initially, I would always end up writing the wrong type of essay as I could not decipher what the instructions of the essay required. My group members could no longer trust me with the group assignments. Writing also requires you to incorporate supporting evidence for your ideas to be easily understood by the reader. A factor that I always forgot when writing my essays. My teacher frequently gave remarks like “elaborate or use examples” on my essays to show me that the point was not clear, it would have been better understood if an example was used. Not forgetting how boring my essays were as I could not bring out the different tones, voice, and audience clearly in my essays. I would always be among the lowest scores in my class. Another writing tool to capture your audience is the thesis statement that introduces the ideas that are to explained in the essay. I had to seek guidance from my teacher and my classmates who were more than willing to help me improve my writing skills. Diction is also a key element in writing, depending on the target audience. The essay should have a good flow of ideas to engage your writers. Grammar and also incorporating quotes are all factors that a writer should integrate to write a good essay. I had none of the skills. With adequate practice, proper guidance and determination to be a good writer I must say that today I am among the top essay writers in my class.
The purpose of any written text is for it to have a reading audience. Being a good reader is a skill that incorporates a variety of reading tools for one to fully comprehend the written text. These include the ability to activate background knowledge, distinguish facts from opinions and coming up with conclusions based on the evidence used to back up the topic of the essay. All these were skills that I lacked as a reader. Based on the comments I frequently received from my teachers were “Take your time to go through the essay before you answer the questions.” Before, I was an impatient reader. For all the other reading tools to be effective the reader needs to be patient enough to keenly go through the text, something that I lacked. There are different styles of reading such as skimming and scanning. With guidance from my teacher, I was able to first incorporate these reading styles, later on, it became easier for me to identify the different tones used in the text and differentiating the facts and opinions. I could also identify the background knowledge of the text.
Critical thinking enables you to draw conclusions and summarize essays while reading and also come up with ideas while writing. Critical thinking enables the reader to effectively come up with the summary of the essay based on the evidence used. They can identify the patterns of organization used even in multiple texts. I was a poor critical thinker, I always rushed to giving conclusions based on the little information I had acquired from the essay without giving myself time to critically analyze the evidence used. Again this was backed up by my teacher’s comments “Take your time to go through the essays and critically analyze.” On my in-class assignments. During our group assignments, with the spirit of actively participating, I always rushed to give my thoughts and opinions from the essays assigned without critically thinking through my answers. My group members guided me through the whole process of being the good critical thinker that I am now.
Based on my experience from being a bad writer, reader, and critical thinker, I must say that practice makes perfect. Anyone can polish up their skills as long as they are determined to be the best. Essay writing and reading is something that requires one to be fully equipped with some of the important skills that I have mentioned above. With proper guidance from people who are good in these different areas of essay writing and reading, a student can learn a lot. Patience is also a factor that is overlooked but it is necessary.
Course overview, EN1096
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