Our first essay asks the question “What impact has reading had on your life?” Please reflect on this question for a few minutes and then post a short essay in the MLA format. If you have any questions, please let me know by email. Here is the full-page description of the assignment:
Essay #1: Literacy Narrative
Write a short literacy narrative about yourself. Literacy narratives can often have slightly different focuses, so you have a small amount of room for creativity, but they primarily deal with detailing a person’s path to reading and writing (education and experiences as a reader) and/or the impact that reading and writing has on their lives. Keep in mind that the focus here is on “literacy” (the act of reading and/or writing) and not as much on “literature” (which we’ll be talking about in class). Your literacy narrative can involve your experiences with various “great” books, but it will more likely encompass your experiences with a variety of texts, from internet reading, to newspapers, to comic books, to whatever you tend to read or even write in your spare time.
The organization of your paper will depend on the focus you want the essay to take. If you are writing about your experience becoming literate (learning to read and write), you will probably take a narrative approach, detailing your first experiences in school or your first memories of books or the first time reading or writing seemed to make a big impact on your life. In writing from this perspective, you will want a clear introduction that establishes the story you plan on telling, strong transitions and paragraphs (probably chronologically organized) that put that overall story together, and a conclusion that goes beyond simple summary to address the large context of what you’ve just written about. What ultimate impact did those early experiences have on the reader/writer you are today?
If you focus more on particular texts or experiences of reading and writing and how they have impacted your life, you would structure your essay in a more subject-by-subject fashion. Your introduction would establish that you are writing about significant moments where literacy or particular texts impacted your life and give a sense of why those moments or texts are important. Your body paragraphs would be organized around each of those texts or moments, explaining what they were and narrating why they mattered. In this structure, your conclusion would again go beyond simple summary to put the discussion in a larger context. Have those particular moments or texts changed the way you read or address writing now? How might those experiences be similar to or different from those of other individuals?
Regardless of how you organize the paper, the final draft of your paper needs to be typed, double spaced top to bottom, and in 12 point font with one inch margins on all four sides of your paper. 1) Your name, 2) the instructor’s name, the 3) course number, and 4) date need to be in the upper left hand corner of the first page (only). Your last name (optional) and the page number should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page–or simply the page number–either will work, in other words the full MLA format. You will submit this as a word doc, PDF, or Richtext file only. If I can not open what you send, I will let you know and give you plenty of time to resubmit. (The average submission runs 2.2 to 3.4 pages, but almost always five paragraphs.)