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My Literacy Narrative Assignment

Paper One: Literacy Narrative Assignment Sheet

Assignment: In the literacy narrative, your goal is to reflect on the role that reading and writing have played in your life. In other words, you will write a story about yourself as a literate person. At one time, you could neither read nor write, and now, many years later, you are taking a composition class at a university. As the text suggests, good writing begins with good questions. So, how did you get here? What people, events and literature shaped you as a writer? What does writing (or books, or language) mean to you?

In this assignment, you will explore the part of your identity that is immersed in language. You will explore yourself as a reader and a writer. This exploration will take place in a narrative format, meaning a story with a beginning, middle and end. Narrative can employ techniques such as the use of dialogue and a progression of scenes. You will read more about narrative techniques in Allyn & Bacon, Chapter 5.

For this assignment, you must examine your experiences and pick out several memories that helped to shape the kind of reader and writer you are today. Consider both the negative and the positive experiences you've had with literacy. Embarrassing moments can be just as interesting to your audience as academic triumphs. Speaking of your audience, don't forget to bear them in mind as you write-and your audience is not only your professor and peers, but an academic audience in general. Imagine you are writing to "university people," first-year students like yourself, upperclassmen and professors.

The reason it is better to imagine a more general academic audience is that it will prevent you from assuming that the reader knows anything about you. We, in this class, may know, for example, where you are from or that English is not your first language, but the audience for this literacy narrative does not know those things. If you want them to know something, you must explain it to them using interesting details and clear sentences. In fact, it is better to show them that something is the case, with an interesting scene for example, than to just tell them.

The key to a successful narrative is focus. You much choose the most important and appropriate characters, descriptions, images, etc. Make the setting, point of view, and organizational pattern work for you and your story. If you are having trouble focusing, bear your purpose and your audience in mind as you write.

- Reflect upon a significant, interesting question taken from your experience with language
- To use narrative for a specific purpose (e.g. argue a point, provide an example, communicate an emotion)
- To tell a clear, cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end
- To practice rhetorical sensitivity, bearing in mind your purpose, audience and genre
- To connect positive and negative events from the past to your current feelings about reading and writing
- To practice a recursive writing process, including invention, drafting and revision

Requirements and guidelines: All drafts and essays must be typed, doubled-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt. font. Your margins must be one inch, and you must have either a heading or a title page. You must conform to MLA style rules (check Everyday Writer). Your draft should be about 1000 words. Your finished essay should be about 1500 words. Submitting work that has been previously submitted in another class is not acceptable.

Evaluation criteria: You will be graded on your overall writing process. This means that I will collect your essay in portfolio format. When the final essay is due, you must include your in class writing, homework, quizzes,, drafts, peer reviews and revisions in a simple pocket folder with your name on it. In your final version, I am looking for:

- Tell a story by depicting connected events over time
- Include tension or conflict
- Use concrete details to evoke image and emotion
- Use figurative language to help the reader share your experience
- Show-through resolution, recognition, or retrospective interpretation-what the events mean to you
- Convey an appealing voice appropriate to your subject matter
- Please see the grading rubric for more evaluation criteria

So far this is my first draft and I have to add an additional words later on for my 1500 words and I just want to make sure this 1st draft is strong enough to continue to write my final draft:

My Writing Soul

Writing is no alien to me. I grew up writing from an early age and the fact that I loved reading made me want to write just as beautiful as the author of a book. I would sometimes feel jealous of them and compare my own writing with theirs just to feel special. I can remember my mother telling me once that if I used my soul to write for me, people will understand and listen to my words. I don't have to be an expert in writing but if I just let my words come out naturally when I write, I will have a voice that readers will want to hear. Though I rather prefer reading or speaking, writing is by far my best tool and communicator to others and it allows my full message to clearly come across to people without the need to repeat myself more than once.

Growing up, I thought of writing as discomforting and boring because sometimes a sentence would take too long to write and I would fear that my handwriting would be more terrible than others. But as the years passed by and I progressed, I started to grow a settling interest for 3rd person writing. Thanks to my love for reading stories, I wanted to create my own set of stories and use my imagination to put it down in words. Although there was more to this in the real world than writing stories, this is what gained my interest in writing and the one thing that made me feel comfortable while writing.

Since elementary school, I was presented with a various types of writing ranging from essays to research papers. I did my first formal research paper in 6th grade and it was the first time I had to use sources from others for a topic and I quickly despised it. Where was the fun in this? It was like writing wasn't being written from the heart anymore. I hated writing this way but it benefited me in a way where my vocabulary improved and as every year passed by I felt a big difference in the research papers I was writing in 9th grade compared to the ones I wrote in 6th grade. In high school, my 4 years had me writing nonstop for my English classes in a way were I was being forced on preparing my writing skills for college and the future. Writing about novels, poems and important figures had appealed to me in a way I was enjoying writing in a whole new level and style. I even had research papers which one consisted of informal writing and allowed me to use my own thoughts and opinions and combine them with sources to form a research paper which was important yet enjoyable to read.

But like everybody, I had difficulties to overcome with my first experiences with writing as well. Whenever I was given the task to write in a way that was new to me, I would take a step back for a while and think for a while. One time I remember receiving on a poor grade on a paper where it was supposed to be APA format and I went along with what I knew and followed an MLA format which was familiar to me at the time. Also, a moment when citing was crucial in paper reports, I wouldn't know the format of making a bibliography or how to cite in a research paper because I saw writings like these to be foreign and complex to me. I felt these forms of writing simply gave information and didn't compare it to the writer and his thoughts. These were challenges to me in my full understanding of writing and I saw there was more to than meets the eye. I needed to become familiar with the unfamiliar and unravel the secrets they carry to allow myself to take an extent in writing in my life. My professor in my 7th grade English class told me I was failing his assignments because I was still learning and experiencing to write in a way that was completely new to me and I would only get better through practice and example.

High school has become the door to a new of writing and it has tested my capabilities that will be a must if such cases in my future. It was the moment of perfecting my writing but it was not the end as everyday even today I still come around mistakes and learn from them to become and even better writer for tomorrow. My writing has come up a long way and just begun to take an important role in my life. In my everyday tasks and activities, will be called on to use my writing to help get me through my 4 years in college and help land me in a career where my writing skills will be undeniable. My writing won't be a big factor as before since I have now taken a turn in the field of science and math to major in engineering. Writing will still be my key tool for my job in such this case as it will be used as my major communicator, interpreter of daily material, and connections with the real world. I still have a long way from becoming the writer I want to be but I'm hoping that through time and practice, my writing will continue to improve and grow. One quote written by Lawrence Clark Powell says "write to be understood, speak to be heard, and read to grow." This tells us that we need to not write to make a point but write with our souls to make a voice and speak to let it have sound and reading will allow my writing and soul to grow and improve with the passing time.

Please let me know with any improvements and future ideas I could add in.

I grew up writing from an early age, and the fact that I loved reading made me want to write just as beautifully as the authors of name a few specific titles.

Above, when you put 2 sentences together as a compound sentence, you need a comma before the conjunction (and, but, or, because). Same thing here:
I did my first formal research paper in 6th grade, and it was the first time I had to use sources from others for a topic, and I quickly despised it. ----- this one has 3 complete sentences. The truth is, you do not actually NEED a comma, but Strunk and White recommend it as a matter of style, and I think your sentences sometimes really need a comma.

I hated writing this way, but it benefited me ...

Also, at a moment when citing was crucial in paper reports, I wouldn't know the format of making a bibliography or how to cite in a research paper because I saw writings like these to be foreign and complex to me.----me too!! I remember being so lost in high school as I tried to put sources in a bib. Nowadays, there are computer programs to help with that.

Okay, I guess this needs to be condensed so that any unnecessary sentences can be omitted or combined with others for efficiency. Also, this sentence seems unclear:

Though I rather prefer reading or speaking, writing is by far my best tool and communicator to others and it allows my full message to clearly come across to people without the need to repeat myself more than once.----- you prefer reading and speaking, but writing is best? Seems strange. I think this sentence should be replaced with a thesis statement that expresses the main idea of the essay.


A Literacy Narrative is a popular way for writers to talk about their relationship with reading, speaking, and writing. Many literacy narratives have been written and published by famous writers to help their audience get to know them. It is also commonly used as a first assignment for college composition courses. It gives students a chance to 1) introduce themselves to their teachers and their classmates, 2) reflect on their relationship with reading and writing in a positive way, and 3) develop an understanding of the impact of reading and writing on their life. Students often find that the assignment is enjoyable, and teachers often find they they enjoy reading literacy narratives. Think of it as a personal story.

What does it mean to be "literate"?

The first Merriam-Webster definition of literate is "able to read and write." Some instructors require that the literacy narrative remains true to this definition of literacy. Another definition of "literacy" is more comprehensive. It is "having knowledge or competence." A literacy narrative can cover literacy in either of these ways.

The second definition of "literacy" may include professional literacy, hobby-related literacy, language literacy, or many other types of broadened understanding of a subject brought on by its connection to language. It is that connection to language that the literacy narrative is concerned with. For example, you may be an athlete. Let's say you play soccer. Well, when did you learn what "off-sides" meant? How did you learn that phrase? What does it mean to "play D"? What is a "football pitch"? A literacy narrative might concern this type of relationship with language. One of the challenges of this type of literacy narrative is making sure that you stay on topic. In the above example, the topic is "soccer literacy," not "soccer." A paper about soccer misses the point. Again, some instructors strictly want a paper about reading and writing, not a paper that is thematically related to another topic. Make sure to clear that with your instructor.

What is a narrative?

The other part of a literacy narrative is the emphasis on narrative. The paper must tell a story. It must have a plot. It must have a theme. It must mean something. It is an opportunity to share a story about your life with others.

This also means that the point of the paper is not to simply list important terminology or explain the meaning of certain words. It is also not to list the books you've read or talk about the poems your wrote. The narrative should talk about what you did and what it means to you in terms of your personal literacy journey.

How does a literacy narrative fit into the real world?

A literacy narrative is an important document detailing individual journeys with being literate. Since we've already established that "literate" and "literacy" have broad definitions, it's easy to see how a literacy narrative is about more than just a story about a person learning the alphabet or learning to read, write, and speak.