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Literacy Narrative Assignment

Purpose and Genre

The purpose of a literacy narrative is to understand how your past literacy experiences shape
your current literacies by telling a story about your literacy history and analyzing its significance.
You might talk about positive or negative impacts and experiences, or both. Your narrative
should include analysis of the experiences you describe, and you should consider how those
experiences have shaped you as a reader and writer.
You have three options for the subject of your literacy narrative:
1. Write about past reading and writing experiences (in or outside of educational contexts) that
have had an impact on your current literacies.
2. Write about your most important current literacies (in or outside of educational contexts).
3. Write about a person (within or outside of an educational context) who has had a significant
impact on your current literacies.
The literacy narrative is a common genre among writers of all sorts. This genre deploys the
descriptive elements of narrative to discuss a significant event or series of events, but it also
includes elements of self-assessment and critique to consider the nuances, implications, and
significance of those events. Literacy narratives are not always published in print modes; you
have the option of composing your literacy narrative as a visual text (video, graphic novel, etc.),
a digital text (a hyperlinked timeline, etc.), or as audio (podcast, audio essay, spoken poem,
etc.). As youll notice when we read and consider literacy narratives in class, there is no single
tone or style that a literacy narrative must adopt: they can be serious, funny, formal, informal,
poetic, concise, emotional, celebratory, critical, etc.
The primary audience for your literacy narrative is you. By reflecting on your literacy history,
your goal will be to learn more about your present literacies in order to become a more reflective
and self-aware reader and writer. Your secondary audiences will be me, as your instructor, and
your peers, as responders. By learning more about your history as a reader and writer, we will
be better able to respond to your writing, and to understand your writing in relation to the
You will also have the option of circulating your literacy narrative to the Digital Archive of
Literacy Narratives (DALN) at The DALN accepts audio, textual, and video
literacy narratives, and its often used as a resource in composition classes. Another possible
venue is the UWPs own first-year composition student writing journal, Readings about Writing.
You might also consider circulating your writing independently via online platforms like Tumblr,
YouTube, etc.
The format of your literacy narrative will depend on the medium in which you compose. For
example, most print essays use serif fonts like Times New Roman and rely on a double-spaced,
indented-paragraph structure. They also typically include page numbers and headers that
include the authors last name or a short title on each page. This format makes print texts
easier to navigate for readers. Online texts, however, typically use sans serif fonts like

Helvetica and rely on single-spaced, non-indented block paragraphs. This format makes digital
texts easier for readers to interact with on screens. Visual media use other conventions; they
may incorporate video, still images, sound, or text. Audio media use still other conventions; they
may incorporate chapters, layered effects, a narrator, etc. Be sure that the format and
conventions you use in your literacy narrative are consistent and appropriate to the medium in
which you choose to compose.
Your literacy narrative should be the equivalent of 900 to 1,200 words. For a non-print medium,
your required word count may be less, since more of your labor will go into creating visual
elements, editing video or audio, etc.
Cover Letters
You will include a cover letter with both your first draft (for workshop) and your revised draft
(submitted to me). Your cover letter for the workshop draft should describe what you think the
strengths and weaknesses of your draft are. It should also detail any questions or concerns you
have for your peer responders. For the revised draft, your cover letter should describe what you
think the strengths and weaknesses of your revised draft are, and any questions or concerns
you have for me. In addition, this cover letter should summarize the feedback you received
during workshop and which revisions you made (or didnt make) based on your peers
Criteria for Grading
See the UWP 1 general portfolio rubric.
Date: Before class, upload a rough draft of your literacy narrative (with a cover letter) to
Canvas. Bring a print or digital copy to class for peer response.
Date: Before class, upload a revision of your literacy narrative (with a cover letter) to Canvas. I
will return your revised draft with feedback within about one week.
Date: Submit a final draft of your literacy narrative with your portfolio.