Essay #2: Literacy Narrative
The Writing Assignment
For this assignment, you will create a Literacy Narrative, an account of how reading has affected your life. Go beyond the simple narrative—include memories and images that will help the reader to become part of your world. Think about cause and effect. What did you learn about yourself? Why was that significant?
You have probably never read anything like this, so you need a starting point. "A Visit to White's Farm" isn't quite a literacy narrative because it is written from the viewpoint of someone watching the reaction of the children, but it does begin to touch on the ways literature affected them in their earlier lives. The Literacy Narrative by Amelia Angulo is a better example of what you are aiming at.
This tutorial on writing a literacy narrative walks you through the process, and it includes another student-written example.
Hints for Success
- Go small. Four pages probably sounds like a huge amount of writing, so you will be tempted to give us an overview of eighteen years of literacy. That sounds like a great way to fill the space, but it will not have any focus and you will be writing vague general statements that do not mean anything. Go instead for tightly-focused specifics. Go for concrete images.
- Sitting on the old plaid sofa near the wood-burning stove with your father while he read the goofy doings of Amelia Bedelia who took everything so literally that when she was told to "prune the shrub," she stuck prunes on the ends of the twigs.
- Reading every book by Ray Bradbury in the public library when I was in junior high school. The library was three miles away, so walking there and back in the summer pretty much chewed up the afternoon, but it was air conditioned, so I could read in comfort for a couple of hours. I began with The Martian Chronicles, then progressed to The Illustrated Man (the one about the man with magical tattoos that came to life after dark), and ended with Fahrenheit 451, which pretty much guaranteed that I would never watch TV again.
- What if I don't have any warm, fuzzy stories? What do you have?
- If reading was difficult for you (Vision problems? Dyslexia?) how did you feel about being left out? Can you tell about an incident that really captures that feeling?
- If books, reading, and writing were just not part of your life, perhaps you can write about your struggles in adapting to the world of school where literacy is so important. Perhaps this struggle to adapt is quite recent!
- If you had family or friends who tried to discourage your literacy, write about their efforts; this could turn into sort of an anti-literacy narrative.
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Revised 8/2/19 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: email@example.com.