Keonaona Mahi


Hooked on phonics + Jumpstart

1995 - 2001

I was the only child who wasn't sent to Hawaiian Immersion, therefore my mom focused on my English reading skills. My reading journey started with a sense of apprehension because I felt the need to prove my worth in English because I didn't know how to speak or understand the level of Hawaiian Language that my siblings were speaking. Though my initial relationship with reading was tense, I soon became invested in the way my vocabulary was expanding, which allowed me to embellish stories that I made when playing with dolls. I believe Goodman is right in saying that life events and family dynamics have a huge impact on our reader profile because I wouldn't have been as invested in reading if I didn't feel like I had to prove that I was just as good as my sibling.

Books as punishment

2000 - 2004

My mom thought that making me read and report on an entire Disney or Dr. Seuss book was a punishment. Ironically, I quite enjoyed reading and the punishment became a pleasure. In Buehl's framework, this punishment started as an obligation to read and turned into a desire to read for myself. After reading the book, I was required to orally report the story back to my mom and answer any questions she had about the story. At this point, I started to read books with the intention of being able to discuss the story after. The illustrations in the books also helped me interpret the words on the page differently depending on the image behind them.

Gameboy Color with Pokemon


I received a Gameboy Color for my birthday from family friends of my mom living in Japan. At the time, I was collecting pokemon cards and found the game became an extended narrative of the physical cards as well as VHS videos. This initial interaction was important to my literary identity because I started to understand that I could guide or change the narrative rather than just participate as a reader. This was the main launching point of my "technological literacy" journey. (pg. 59, Goodman)

Freak the Mighty and Walk Two Moons


The memory of reading these two books and the complete dedication I sustained throughout the readings has never faded over time. They were the first books I had read that had layers of societal/ social problems, relationships, and human identity all at work at the same time. This was the point where I started to realize that books were more than simple morals that kids need to learn or fun stories to enjoy. Books were used as a medium to communicate the complication that is human existence. Though these books started out as something I wanted to read, I now see them as books that I feel obligated to remember and possibly even reread with all of my current knowledge and understanding.

Newbery Readers Club

2003 - 2005

I would read and discuss books with peers during our lunch period with the Librarian as our adviser. We would also compete with other schools at events. My membership in this group helped me work on my confidence in public speaking and helped me develop ways to defend my statement or argument with evidence from the text.

Death of my older brother

July 29, 2006

My brother passed away the summer before my 7th grade year in school. I was attending his funeral while my new dorm mates at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus were having orientation. I became very introverted and dedicated to spending time alone with my books or newfound interest in poetry. I started to build my disciplinary literacy more within the literary fiction category because it either allowed me to escape the deafening pain of loss or let me release my anguish with the characters in the books and poems I read. I could also identify and mimic the figurative language used by authors in order to express emotions or the gravity of certain events within the story-line.
I consider this the identity of loosing a loved one, over time I have been able to connect and understand others who have lost a loved one too early. I have met others who identify with this often also have an interest in music, reading, or writing as an outlet for their trauma.

Decided to take Theater

2008 - 2015

I registered myself for Theater my freshman year of High School because I was intrigued by the fact that I could take the words on the page and perform them. Theater let me bring to life the words that I had read in a way that allowed me to better express myself. For an evening performance, I could be anything from a grade school student to a witch. As a member of this community, I also found comfort in being able to perform freely in front of peers who were just as complicated and semi-confident as me. I also had an opportunity to direct a one act, which made me think more about the intention behind the blocking and delivery of lines.

Started Dating my Boyfriend

September 17, 2012

I have found that my relationship has actually expanded my disciplinary literacy in terms of history. My boyfriend has introduced history in a way that captivates me through historical fiction, video games, documentaries, movies, etc. He would watch, read, or play through various mediums with me and always had interesting commentary that kept me engaged. Over the years we have had many conversations that ranged from our daily lives to politics. He also read some of my papers and gave me feedback, which I found valuable because I respect his knowledgeable and adaptive mind.