Reading and writing are important because they are the roots of power in the modern world. We as individuals and communities can use reading and writing to obtain power for ourselves and to challenge power structures that are currently in place. Reading and writing are the major tasks of the discipline of English and Language Arts. The third component of English is speaking. Your voice, in addition to your power to comprehend words and put thoughts into writing, will empower you in ways beyond your imagination. To be “literate” in English is to be able to make meaning from texts, both narrative and expository. To be “literate” in English is to be able to convey your ideas in writing. To be “literate” in English is to be able to communicate with others in conversation. Schools as systems do not take into account our individual differences and the many cultures we as learners bring to the classroom. Schools as systems have not traditionally given us opportunities to express ourselves, and to get closer to realizing our individual passions. In this class we will approach reading and writing as tools to do the work that schools too often fail to do. Through our reading of the world and our writing of ourselves, we will get closer to our true selves and each other. This is progress.