Literacy Narrative Assignment


Literacy Narrative Assignment

Assignment 1: The Literacy Narrative

Literacy Narratives re-create and examine significant past experiences in which reading, writing, thinking, listening and speaking figure prominently focusing on key stages or events in one’s development as a literate person. A Literacy Narrative is autobiographical, and writing such essays can help you discover and evaluate the role(s) literacy has played in your life, reveal the sources of your present attitudes and abilities, deepen your understanding of how/why you have developed into the kind of reader, writer, thinker, communicator that you have become. A Literacy Narrative prompts you to explore, remember, reflect upon, analyze important moments, experiences, or stages of development in your own personal writing, reading (speaking, listening, thinking) history: e.g., influential events, scenes, people; stages; turning points or moments of insightful realization; failures and/or successes; “border crossings” or passages into new, different kinds of language, reading, writing, communication, thinking. Since there are many kinds of literacies, Literacy Narratives can also address other kinds of literacies, such as visual literacy, computer literacy, science literacy, or film literacy.

Literacy Narrative Assignment

Topic Focus of Your Literacy Narrative

One single experience (story, event, moment, scene, encounter with an influential person, stage of development) in your personal literacy history, that you will recount, interpret, and analyze to make your thesis point

Two or three related experiences (stories, events, moments, scenes, encounters with influential person[s], stages in your literacy development) whose inter-connections you can show and explain–and, taken together, all contribute to supporting/developing your essay’s thesis.

Experience(s) that you choose to narrate may be, but do not have to be, drawn from your formal schooling; life experiences with literacy outside of formal education

Literacy Narrative Assignment

Arriving at an Essay Thesis (i.e., Your Theory of Meaning/Significance and Your Response to the imagined readers’ “So What?” Question that your audience will expect you to present and develop). You must write in the genre of the essay. You must use your narrative to make a point. This means you must do more than simply narrate and describe your experience: you must analyze, interpret, explain the meaning/significance of the experience–and do so fully enough that even uninformed readers can understand why the experience is significant to you– and perhaps to others of us as well. You may not know what your thesis is at first: you may wish to write a “discovery draft” recounting your experience–then reflect and analyze it to discover what it means and why it is significant to you. The following leading questions may help:

  • Why do I remember the experience(s) I narrate? Why does it stick with me, even perhaps years later?
  • Why do the experience(s) seem important and influential to me now? How did the experience shape or influence the kind of reader, writer, thinker, speaker, and/or listener I am today?
  • What role have encounters with language and literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening) played in my life, in creating who I am and how I think today?
  • What is my essay narrative saying about how/why developing literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking) has, or has not, been important in my life up to now? And do I consider this an advantage or disadvantage: that is, have the narrative experience(s) helped or hurt me, or both?
  • What have I learned from the experience(s)–about myself, others, the world? By the way, failures and/or successes can be addressed (for we sometimes learn as much, if not more, from our failures).
  • Literacy Narrative Assignment
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