Literacy Narrative

Writing Project #1 Literacy Narrative

Project Purpose. In the first writing project for the course, each writer will look into his/her past to uncover a small part of their history as a writer. You will do this by locating artifacts from your writing life, tell the story of the artifacts (at least two) to an audience (us) in narrative form (as a story-essay). Obviously some of these literacy artifacts will involve school, but you are encouraged to focus on artifacts from outside of school where you learned how to be an author or creator of texts and learned the art of persuasion. The purpose of the project is to reveal, explain and discuss some aspect of your literacy journey: how you became the writer/creator you are today.

Step 1: Analyzing Writing Artifacts. Your first step is to choose one writing artifact from your recent academic writing past, preferably from your ENG 101 course, if you took that course here.   Use the rhetorical analysis methods we have learned in the first part of the course to analyze this piece. Write about the rhetorical context of the artifact: who it was written for, what genre it is in, what your stance was in approaching the subject, etc…. Do the explicit, implicit, extended analysis as well. Study the piece using ethos, pathos, logos. You don’t have to do all of these.

For the second artifact, choose something older. Search your closet, your old school work, your favorite memento box, your papers and projects from high school, your private writing, your song writing trove etc. Anything written or created by you counts: an audio recording of the first song you wrote, a painting you made, a paper for school, a letter, a you tube video, a blog you created. The artifacts do not have to be in English and can be a visual text. The artifacts need to be something you can access and share (not just a memory of an event). As you did for the first, for the second artifact, write about it using the rhetorical analysis methods we have learned in the course.

You may have to repeat step one a number of times. In fact, it’s probably best to start with a number of artifacts to see which ones work together to produce a worthy theme (we will talk about worthiness in class).

Step 2: Writing more about the artifacts. From the artifacts you have chosen and analyzed, pick two to be the central pieces of this narrative. In this second step, rewrite your analysis into a narrative form. When, how and why were they created? How did you feel about them then? How do you feel about them now? What do they show you about how you became literate. Why have you chosen these two? How are they connected? What do they show about your literacy? It is here that you really develop the theme for your essay.

Step 3:  Incorporating other literacy Narratives

Go to the course blog under course readings and read the literacy narratives that are there.  Find one that relates to your work in some way. Use one of the literacy narratives as a secondary source.  Meaning, incorporate an idea, quote or reference from the literacy narrative into your work.  You need to cite this piece in your project.

Step 4: Opening and Closing.

Developing an opening (1-3 paragaphs) where you introduce the theme of this narrative, reference the artifacts and tell us what is coming. As you develop the theme, consider your audience: your peers in the class, the larger John Jay student body and others interested in education, literacy and learning. In other words, we are looking for something worthy and we are also looking to be enticed and entertained. The narrative form should help you do this. For a closing (1-2 paragraphs), move beyond your artifacts and your life to talk about why your piece matters, and how it relates to the world. Discuss what you have learned about your theme by doing this project. How have your ideas evolved. Then, think about the extended meaning idea we have learned. Apply what you have learned to the world. Tell us how your ideas relate to your audience’s literacy lives?

Step 5: Narrative form and multi-modal design.
This piece should be written as a narrative essay or story essay, using the first person. You should write with energy and specific details to make us feel like we were “there with you” and quote from or describe the artifacts thoroughly. You can also use any other media or design elements you would like (photos, video, links, voice overs, short videos) to enhance your story telling.

Step 6: Finishing your piece. 
Now that you have a complete draft, review it for sentence structure and proofread it for error.

Lifelines: Bring an “iterative draft” to class on Thursday (we will discuss this in class. Post the full version to your blog by class time on Tuesday next week.


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