Studying English with Malcolm X

malcolm x

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 in New York City. Here’s a story from Changing Every Day making reference to him. After you finish reading, take the quiz to test your comprehension!:

Learning to Read: Malcolm X

Lixin (Betty) Ye

Last week, I read an article about how Malcolm X improved his English by learning to read. I was inspired by it. I would like to share my reading.

Malcolm X was a black civil rights activist, religious leader, writer, and speaker. He was mysteriously assassinated at a religious rally in 1965. By that time, his book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, was widely known.

Originally, Malcolm X was poorly educated. His English was very poor, and he did not have adequate vocabulary or communication skills. He became frustrated at his inability to read and write. It made him determined to overcome these deficiencies. When he was in prison, he started to copy a dictionary. For the A-words, he copied everything on the page of the dictionary into a notebook. After that, he read aloud his writing over and over. The next day, he realized he had written more than he had ever written before. He could even remember the meanings of most of the words. He was so fascinated that he went on to copy the other dictionary pages and to study them by reading them aloud as well. He said he never had been so truly free in his life. He really enjoyed his reading.

I understand his feeling. No matter what our condition is, we can enjoy studying and may get fulfillment from it. I admire his persistence. Maybe I cannot do the same thing as he, reading and copying a whole dictionary. However, I can learn from him to keep writing or copying English whether from the newspaper, books, magazines, or whatever I like. I can write down what I read and what I think. I can even read aloud like Malcolm. I am sure I am already enjoying studying in English.


 To read more stories from Changing Every Day, click here.

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One thought on “Studying English with Malcolm X

  1. Thank you, Jon! This essay by Betty is a great choice.

    Best wishes, June

    On Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM, US Adult Literacy wrote:

    > usadultliteracy posted: ” Malcolm X was assassinated on February > 21, 1965 in New York City. Here’s a story from Changing Every Day making > reference to him. To read more stories from Changing Every Day, click > here.”

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