In this project, you are being asked to write through narration, your literacy narrative a.k.a literacy autobiography. According to Ulla Connor, “a literacy autobiography is an account of significant factors and events that have contributed to your development as a reader or writer” (41). Often times, we don’t stop to reflect how certain persons, events, practices or experiences in our homes or out of school contexts have played a role in shaping the literate persons we are today. This assignment asks you to reflect how these factors have shaped your development as a reader or writer.
Another option can be writing a narrative history of a literacy practice of interest to you. You may choose to write about how you developed literacy in: computer gaming, basket ball, fashion, You tubing, reading horoscopes, driving, writing Hip hop music etc.
These kinds of literacies are called “real life literacies” or “out of school literacies.” As we have seen in our discussions about literacy, learning doesn’t necessarily happen in schools only. Our homes and online spaces, for example, are critical sites where a lot of learning (reading and writing) happens, yet this is rarely acknowledged.
As you think about this project, try to remember some of your most vivid memory or memories of how you learned to read and/or write, or how you developed the “real life” literacy practice you chose to narrate about. Reflect on how and why these memories resonate with/in you today. This paper is however more than just telling a story; you will also analyze what your experience means to you. In telling your story, ask yourself, what can my literacy experience and history teach others? What is the significance of my story? In other words, it should answer the so what question.
Invention activities (Coming up with ideas/topics for your project)
You can begin your project by mapping or listing all the memorable experiences that come to your mind. Then, you can narrow your focus by considering some of the following options:
- What kinds of reading and writing do you do at home?
- What significant people in your life taught you how to read and write?
- What kind technologies do you use at home? To learn what, and how?
- What languages do you use at home, with your peers or in online spaces? How did or do they help you become a better writer or reader?
- What kind of out of school activities are you engaged in at home, in your communities and neighborhoods?
- In what ways were you taught to read or write at home, church, mosque, streets and other community sites of learning?
- What kinds of writing have you done at home and in your neighborhoods e.g. graffiti, tagging etc.?
- What is your favorite place to write or read when you are not in school? In what ways is this place significant to you?
- What skills or values have you learned from your parents, siblings or relatives? How have they shaped or influenced your learning in school?
- What kind of things do you read at home books, magazines, bulletin boards, cookbooks etc?
You should be able to demonstrate a self reflection and an awareness of why the things you write about are important. The essay should draw readers’ interest, provide relevant examples, include sensory details, be well developed and demonstrate audience awareness. You may use other features of narration like dialogue and description to tell your story.
For this assignment, your audience will be your peers and I. However, I want you to think about your audience more broadly. Your audience may be unfamiliar with some the descriptions you make. Ensure your narration is explicit and as clear as possible.
This assignment is due on Friday, Feb 10th in class. Hardcopies Only. The length of your final paper should be 3 pages double spaced.Follow MLA format. (See syllabus addenda on formatting guidelines of out of class writing assignments).