By Guest Writer, Melissa Miller
My path to literacy was a lucky, privileged one, as I was raised by a librarian. Mom worked at a business school library and was a very active volunteer at our local public branch. She read to me, presumably starting when I was still in the womb. Though I certainly can't remember that far back, I know I was reading on my own before I was three. Our house was chock-full of printed matter…quite cluttered with it, in fact, despite Mom's purported organizational calling. The bottom line: she would never have let me not read.
A quarter-century later, as a graduate teaching assistant in a large urban public university, I found myself emotionally distraught at the overall language abilities of my freshman composition students. ESL students from all over the globe did make up a solid 25% of my classes – but often, their work was better and their English proficiency seemed as high, or higher, than that of many of the American-born students! That part was frankly very disappointing, on a patriotic, sentimental level. ...