How can literacy save a life?

I think “saving a life” is a very broad statement. What I mean is saving someone’s life doesn’t necessarily have to literally mean life or death, but it can also be something that was so life changing in the sense that your life changed full direction for the better.  As I read through and analyzed my peers literacy narratives on, I started to realize a pattern in which students saw an event in their literacy history that ended up being life changing for them. Unlike mine in which reading and writing quite literally did save my life, these other people’s lives were saved by literacy in their own ways. So I now ask the question how can literacy save a life? I read “Live or Die” by Paige Hibbard (, and she talks about how she had no interests in college or doing well in school until she had a teacher who opened her eyes to her own potential in English, and because of this, she stared to become a star student and then eventually decided to go to college. This is only one example of how literacy can change a life for the better. In my own Literacy Narrative ( ) I talk about how reading and writing helped me to escape my depression and because of this it literally saved my life. They’re are so many ways that Literacy can change and save a life; it just depends on the story.

Exploring Literacy Narratives: Rising Cairn

While reviewing some of my colleagues literacy narratives, I came across an interesting theme in the majority of them. Most of the experiences in the  literacy narratives all boil down to one thing; an unfortunate or otherwise bad experience with a teacher trying to teach the person to read or write. For most of the students, their problems started at a young age in grade school, where they thought the teacher was mean or unsympathetic to their learning needs and abilities. And because of these experiences the students took that dislike for reading or writing with them through the rest of their life. I think that a good impression of reading and writing at an early age is vital for a student to continue to want to learn and grow in their literacy journey  throughout the rest of their life. From reading these other literacy narratives I realize how important that first impression can be. Those students who had a bad experience with reading early on took that bad memory and turned it into a dislike and in some cases even a hatred for reading and writing. However, in other cases some students, such as myself, took a good first impression or memory of reading and writing, and used it as a motivation to better themselves in the literacy field for the rest of their lives. For example, in my literacy narrative “Saving Pages”, I talk about how at a young age reading with my uncle helped me escape into the fantasy that books provide. I then used books later in my life to escape and help heal my depression, and eventually reading and writing helped to save my life. These first impressions that children get from reading are so important because in actuality they are what eventually molds the minds and opinions of our young generations deals and attitudes towards their literacy, and how they wish to proceed with it.

Radio Lab: Words

In the Radio lab podcast “Words” they ask the question, are words, or more importantly language, important? They then continue to gather evidence of language and the effects it has on people. For example they talk to an author of the book “A Man Without Words”. She tells them about the incredible story of a twenty-three year old man who was born deaf, and had no understanding of language at all. She talks about his journey to understanding and eventually mastering sign language and the concept of language in general. She says that at first the man would only mimic everything she signed to him and did not understand that everything had a name, however, when he finally grasped that understanding, he was able to open his mind to a whole new understanding and a way of thinking. In this podcast, they were able to uncover that language is not only a way of communicating with others around you, but is a pathway to a different way of cognition. When the man was asked to describe how life was without language, he couldn’t answer. He said he didn’t know because he couldn’t think like that anymore. The sad truth is that from the moment we are born we are instantly introduced to and begin learning language, and because of this we push our more instinct way of thinking to the side. We forget to just experience things for just as they are. Instead we try to label and understand everything in our physical world. Instead of just being able to experience and feel the wind blow against our face, we have to label and classify these things. Language acts as a barrier to our own mindfulness. Now don’t get me wrong, I think language is important, I just think sometimes we forget to  be physically aware instead of being consciously aware.