ENGL 101 – Richardson – Spring 2024 1Writing Project 1—Literacy Personal NarrativeENGL 101Spring 2024Professor F. RichardsonDUE: Friday, February 9 th , (no later than 11:59 pm)Upload your document to Canvas using Microsoft Word (.doc & .docx) or PDF files.
DescriptionFollowing our reading and discussion of literacy narratives, on writing and reading processes,and on the ways that literacies (like reading and writing) are culturally influenced and shaped byseveral factors, for this project:
Write an autobiographical nonfiction narrative essay describing your development as areader, writer, and/or communicator (spoken, visual, digital) that includes commentary on theinfluences of a key person, event, or factor (personal, academic, technological, social/cultural) onthis development. Learning multiple languages would be an excellent example.
Use the readings as examples for creative use of rhetorical devices, e.g., vivid details,repetition, figurative language, scenes, dialogue, etc. Include the characteristics of a personalnarrative (see below: content) including a clear thesis. Use Aristotelian Rhetoric in your appeals.
Purposes of the AssignmentIn keeping with the goals of English 101, this assignment will ask you to examine your languageuse, rhetorical communication, and writing/reading/digital communication processes as they areshaped in academic and nonacademic contexts and influenced by social and cultural factors. Thisassignment will allow you to examine yourself as both a reader and writer of texts in multiplecontexts. This process will deepen your understanding of how you have been a member of, orinfluenced by, various communities and contexts. It will also begin developing our sharedunderstanding of our writing experiences. The project will give you an awareness of the genre ofthe literacy narrative and the rhetorical skills associated with the genre.
StructureYour paper must be a minimum of 1000 words. Your essay should have an introductoryparagraph, a body of at least two paragraphs, and a single-paragraph conclusion.
1. Title & IntroductionYour title should be intriguing—piquing the reader’s curiosity. Open with anattention-grabbing first few lines. Establish your point of view in the firstparagraph and use it consistently throughout the essay. For this essay, the thesis ismore like the central idea or theme you explore rather than a traditional “claim.”Use consistent verb tense.2. BodyEach paragraph should have a central idea that you are trying to support withevidence. Begin body paragraphs with a topic sentence to quickly inform yourreader of the paragraph’s idea. Even though this is a personal narrative, using thisformat will help maintain a solid story arc. Having at least two paragraphsENGL 101 – Richardson – Spring 2024 2encourages you to focus on different aspects of a topic. “Evidence” in a personalnarrative includes the specifics of the event and details. See below for content list.3. ConclusionThe conclusion of the essay should refer to the thesis/theme and brieflysummarize your story’s main arc. Last sentences should resonate emotionally andbe memorable.4. FormattingStyle must conform to MLA standards. Essays must be double-spaced, be writtenin Times New Roman Font size 12. See Purdue’s OWL for complete anddetailed MLA formatting guides (including a sample paper). See also “Checklistfor submitting your essay” on Canvas.
ContentCharacteristics of a good narrative:1. A clearly identified event: What happened? Who was involved?2. A clearly described setting: Where and when did it happen?3. Vivid, descriptive details: What makes the story come alive? Try to use all five senses.Use figurative language (metaphor and simile).4. A consistent point of view: Who’s telling the story, and in what timeframe?5. A clear theme/thesis: Why does the story matter?
Tips for a Successful Literacy NarrativeFocusIt would be impossible to reflect on all the experiences that have had an influence on yourcommunication practices, so you should focus on the experiences that have affected you mostdeeply or on a key experience or related experiences that would be the most fruitful to analyze orthat had some special significance (those that would allow you to make a particular point aboutwriting, reading and other forms of interaction and communication, including digitalcommunication).
As you think about your memories and experiences of writing/reading, you look for an overall“So what?”—a main theme, a central “finding,” an overall conclusion that your considerationleads you to draw. It might, for example, be one of the following 1 :• An insight about why you read, write, and communicate as you do today based onexperience.• An argument about what works and what doesn’t work in literacy education based on yourexperience.• A resolution to do something differently, or to keep doing something that’s been working.• A description of an ongoing conflict or tension you experience when you read and write.• The story of how you resolved such a conflict earlier in your literacy history.• A narrative of how nonacademic experiences have shaped your literacies, etc.1 Adapted from Wardle and Downs, Writing about WritingENGL 101 – Richardson – Spring 2024 3
OrganizationConsider organizing your project thematically rather than giving an account strictly based on achronology. Look for the overarching point/theme that ties two or three prominent experiencestogether. Then develop each experience, through anecdote, telling stories to support youroverarching point.
Rhetorical Strategies• Specific examples are always more effective than generalizations in a literacy narrative.If you are going to generalize, be sure you provide specific evidence and examples tosupport your generalization. Through careful selection of telling details, put readers in thescene so they can experience what you describe.• No 1000-word project can tell a person’s entire history (even in a specific area such asliteracy). You will have to be selective and choose only the most memorable experiences.Make your words count.• You are encouraged to include other types of media in your literacy autobiography,such as photographs or visuals.Questions for Invention 2 [see also “Literacy Narrative Key Features” reading on Canvas] Thefollowing are prompts to help start the writing process. You might try freewriting (a nonstopsession of writing for ten minutes) about the questions that draw you to certain memories.• How did you learn to write and/or read?• What kinds of writing/reading have you done in the past?• How much have you enjoyed the various kinds of writing/reading you’ve done?• What are particularly vivid memories that you have of reading, writing, or activities thatinvolved them?• What is your earliest memory of reading and your earliest memory of writing?• What sense did you get, as you were learning to read and write, of the value of readingand writing, and where did this sense come from?• What frustrated you about reading and writing as you were learning and then as youprogressed through school? By the same token, what pleased you about them?• What kind of writing/reading do you do most commonly?• What is your favorite kind of writing/reading?• What are your current attitudes, feelings, or stance toward reading and writing?• Where do you think your feelings about, and habits of, writing and reading come from?How did you get to where you are as a writer/reader? What in your past has made you thekind of writer/reader you are today?• Who are some people in your life who have shaped your reading/writing andcommunication practices?• What are some institutions and experiences in your life that have acted as literacysponsors?• What have any of the readings in this [unit] reminded you about from your past or presentas a reader and writer?
2 Adapted from Wardle and Downs, Writing about WritingENGL 101 – Richardson – Spring 2024 4Evaluation CriteriaRhetorical Purpose• Project shows a clear focus—answers the “so what” question for the reader• Project fulfills reader’s genre expectations for a literacy narrativeContent• Project supports points, drawing on specific experiences, and integrating specific details,concrete illustrations, anecdotes, or observationsStructure• Project parts follow a logical, thematic sequence that reinforces the overall point of theproject• Paragraph breaks are logical and facilitate easy reading of the projectLanguage/Style• Project shows careful choice of language appropriate to its intended audience• Project is virtually free of sentence-level errors in Standardized Edited English, exceptwhere another language variety is deliberately chosen for purposes apparent to the reader