Project 1: Literacy Narrative

Due Dates: 

  • Draft of Narrative Due (for in class revision and editing):  Mon. Sept 27th
  • Final Version Due: Mon. Oct. 4th


**NOTE** All work is due at the beginning of class that the assignment is due!  

**Please Do NOT** wait until the last minute to ask me questions. Come and visit me during office hours or email me during the week with questions. 

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. 


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.  

Examples of what you might use to find inspiration: 

  • A turning point in your education/ life;
  • 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. 

As you think about each of these experiences/ events, think about how the event or interaction with the person in your life affected your literacy practice or your understanding of power complexities and the ways we try and sometimes fail to communicate with one another.

Mentor Authors

We will use the readings “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, “My Life as An Undocumented Immigrant,” by Antonio Vargas, and “All Writing is Autobiography” by Donald Murray as mentor authors. You should also use your reading and writing questionnaire! 

  Guiding Questions

Use these questions as a guide. The literacy narrative should NOT be a series of paragraphs that answer each of these questions, but rather use them to guide your thinking and inspire ideas. While you MUST address each of the focus areas (history, process, influences, and language), they do not have to follow the order presented here. The narratives should tell a compelling story of your literacy development. 

  1. History: You will tell the history of you as a reader and writer. How do you feel about reading and writing? How has reading and writing shaped your identity? Or what factors have shaped your identity as a reader and writer?  What has influenced the development of your writing identity? What kinds of reading and writing have you done in the past? Have you enjoyed it? Why or why not? 
  2. Process: Describe the type of reader and writer you are? Where do you like to read and write? What type of reading and writing do you enjoy? What are you successful at as a reader and writer? What struggles or challenges do you face? Does reading or writing in a specific language, voice, or format help or challenge you?
  3. Influences: What people, institutions (school, out of school programs) or communities have helped shape your reading and writing identity. Was there a key moment or person that influenced you and helped shape you into the writer you are today? How has your schooling and education influenced your reading development? Has your literacy development been influenced by social, cultural or political factors? 
  4. Language: We have read and talked a lot about the ethnic and cultural diversity of written English (the different ways we speak and use English!). We have explored the ways that authors have grappled with different forms of English in their reading and writing lives and discussed ways speakers and writers use English differently depending on situations, the languages they speak or the dialects they encounter. Reflect on this concept and discuss how the ethnic and cultural diversity of written English may have influenced you. 


The assignment must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman Font. It must be double- spaced and have one-inch margins. 

Grading Criteria (more details to come)

Content/ Genre: Is my literary narrative an example of a literacy narrative (does the genre match!)  that tells about my literacy development and my growth as a reader and writer? 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?