Project 1: Literacy Narrative

Due Dates: 

  • Draft of Literacy Narrative Due Wed. Sept. 21st (for in class revision and editing): 
  • Final Literacy Narrative and Unit 1 Reflection Due: Monday Oct. 3rd



Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing by Jose Olivarez Wed. Aug. 31s (in class)

Amy Tan “Mother Tongue” Reading Due Mon. Sept. 12th

Jamila Lyiscott’s “Broken English Mon. Sept. 12th (in class) 

Jose Antonio Vargas “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” Due Wed. Sept. 14th

Malcolm X’s “Learning to Read”  Due Mon. Sept. 19th


In this unit, you will write about a significant event or events that had an impact on the way you view the ways you view language and literacy. Think about the examples we’ve read in class: they talk about specific events in-depth, using concrete, significant detail– and then they explain why those events were important– not just to the writer, but to the reader.  

What can your experiences with language tell your audience about the ways bilingualism is perceived in America, for example? Or about the ways we speak differently around different groups of people? You want your reader to come out of your narrative having learned something or thinking about things in a new way.

What is a Literacy Narrative?

A literacy narrative tells the story of the development of a person as a reader and writer. It may capture important pieces of the author’s identity, struggles, turning points, or people who influenced them. 

The project

You will craft a literacy narrative of at least 1000 words. The narrative should depict a moment that captures an important element of your life with a focus on the development of your reading or writing identity.

You will not tell the whole story of your life, but rather present a slice of your life. You will focus on one or two key events, moments, people, etc. that influenced the development of your literacy identity. The narrative should tell a personal story about your experience as a reader and a writer. 

You may want to write about:

  • An event in when you noticed language (either your own or someone else’s)  that was particularly formative;
  • An experience around speech or communication that led you to become the person you are today;
  • The first time you had a profound experience related to language;
  • A place, person, book, author, community or experience that influenced your identity in a positive or negative way. Focus particularly on your identity as a reader, writer or student;
  •  An important lesson that was learned, a time you learned something about yourself as a reader or a writer;
  • An occasion when you had to display literacy in a particular academic discipline; 
  • A new literacy (way of communicating) you had to learn at a workplace;
  • An experience using varying methods of communication with classmates, team members or people in your community. 

Whatever the context you choose from the examples above, you should:

  • Talk about how the event shaped your relationship to communication in general;
  • Talk about how your particular experience relates to some of the bigger social and cultural issues we discussed in class, such as race, Standard Written English (SWE), etc.;
  • Reflect upon how your experience has enabled you to understand something specific about reading, writing, learning, or language AND how that understanding reflects on the communities/world you inhabit.

Grading Criteria 

Content/ Genre: Is my literacy narrative an example of a literacy narrative (does the genre match!)? Do I reflect on how a specific event has snapped my relationship with communication in general? Do I include all of the required components (History, Process, Influences, Language)? Do I use different narrative techniques to tell the story and strengthen the message?

Organization: Are my ideas well-organized? Does my literacy narrative follow a clear structure? 

Purpose and Audience:  Is the purpose and intended audience for my narrative clear? Do I write in a tone and voice that matches my purpose and audience? 

Presentation: Did I revise for content and edit for grammar, spelling, and conventions? Does it meet formatting requirements? Does it look presentable (not sloppy)? 

Citations: If relevant, did I properly cite all sources referenced or used in the piece?