Personal Literacy Narrative Essay Guidelines

Personal Literacy Narrative Essay Guidelines

Professor Rodgers College Writing City Tech

Exploratory Draft DUE: _____________

Working Draft DUE: _______________

Final Draft DUE: _________________

Over the last several weeks, we have been reading and writing about literacy practices, your thoughts about these, your relationships to those practices, and the impact of technology on how you read and write. Last week, we read three essays: Toby Litt’s “The Reader and Technology,”  Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me,” and Salvatore Scibona's "Where I Learned to Read." All three essays were personal narrative essays, meaning, the focus of the essay was on the life and experiences of the writer himself and each used narrative, or storytelling, to structure and present the material being discussed. All of the essays were also about the practice of writing and reading. In other words, these essays are also literacy narratives, which is a specific type of personal narrative essay.

The focus of our first essay is your own literacy practices. For this essay, you will need to choose a specific topic to write about. This could be anything: how you learned to write, how you learned to read, how you used to read and write a lot and why you later stopped doing those things as much, how technology has changed the ways in which you read and write. These are just a few of the many possible topics you might choose for this essay. If you were particularly inspired by Litt or Alexie’s essay, perhaps you’d like to write an essay modeled on and responding to one of those? That is also fine. What is important is that you write about a specific topic that is important to you and that you have a lot to say about. It is almost impossible to write anything when you don’t have material to work with. Therefore, please make sure that whatever specific topic you choose is a/ something you have thought about and are interested in, and 2/ is related to the general topic of reading and writing practices.

Before beginning a draft of this essay, you will need to do some BRAINSTORMING to decide on your own particular approach to this literacy narrative. Look back at the informal writing that you have done in this class so far. Is there an idea or sentence in one of those writings that you’d like to expand on and develop into an essay? For those looking for more guidance on how to write a literacy narrative essay, please consult the Norton Web site. There, you will find a step by step guide to writing a literacy narrative, along with a sample literacy narrative, which I personally find rather dull compared to the Litt and Alexie essays, but which is a perfectly competent essay.

Your essay, which will be two to three pages in length, will be graded on the effort you have put into thinking about the personal literacy narrative essay as genre, and about your topic for this particular essay, as well as on the presentation of your material to your audience. The essay should include a title, well structured paragraphs, and writing that not only clearly describes and explains information, but also engages your reader. For MLA essay formatting guidelines, see or your English handbook.

Please make sure you write this essay for a specific audience. This audience can be your instructor, your classmates, the students at City Tech, or the readers of a particular publication. I ask you to choose and specify an audience so you know who you are writing to and tailor the content and style of your essay to that audience.