Literacy Narrative Essay Sample

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This assignment is designed to encourage a personal reflection on your literacy history to help you gain insight into your own formation as a literate individual—in other words, your development as a reader, writer, thinker, and member of discourse communities. As you delve into your own background, you should critically examine successes and failures, intellectual growth or lack thereof, and try to understand how you evolved as a literate person. In so doing, it should become easier to understand the literacy backgrounds of others. Perhaps most important, this should be a step toward coming to terms with what it means to become literate in today’s world.


Describe a literacy event or experience that you consider noteworthy or representative in your development as a literate person. You may want to explore a special problem or roadblock you encountered or a moment of revelation or success that was significant to you (particularly in retrospect). You may want to think about definitions (reading, writing, literacy) that you developed on your own (in the context of this event) or that were mapped out for you by parents, friends, teachers, schools, or other institutions. Because this reflection is short and some analysis/reflection is important, you’ll need to limit your focus.

This paper should be essentially a narrative with an overlay of reflection. The balance between the two will be important in making it a good piece of writing. You will need concrete and vivid memories and anecdotes as well as powerful interpretations of a stage or stages in your literacy development. The key to writing a successful narrative is choosing the most important details, characters, and dialogue to achieve your specific purpose.

The best papers will have a central insight or point they attempt to get across to an audience who is interested in literacy. This insight is often presented as the story unfolds, and therefore an explicit thesis is not necessary. However, the conclusion should make the significance of the event crystal clear to your readers. Your narrative should inform and hopefully make a believer out of your reader.

Due Dates:

First draft of essay (at least two pages of solid writing, typed) is due at the beginning of class on:

“Final” draft of essay is due at the beginning of class on:


3.5-4 pages, typed, double-spaced, MLA style.


I will read your narrative with these questions in mind:

1. Does the writer relate a meaningful event about literacy? Does it reveal something important about the writer and about literacy?

2. Is the event told clearly through specific details and careful choice of language? Does the story make sense?

3. Is the story focused and narrowed to a specific event? Is the story well paced?

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