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What is a Literacy Narrative?

  • A literacy narrative is a first-hand narrative about reading or composing (or teaching reading and composing) in any form or context.
  • Literacy narratives can be short or long, two minutes or twenty-five.
     
  • Literacy narratives can be about your experiences as a small child, a teenager, an adult, a senior.
     
  • Literacy narratives can be about reading stories books, cereal boxes, music, or video game cheats—anything at all that you read or any story about teaching reading.
     
  • Literacy narratives can be about composing letters, Facebook pages, song lyrics,’ zines, blogs, maps, essays in school—anything at all that you compose, or any story about teaching writing.
     
  • Literacy narratives can be sad or happy, poignant or funny, informative or incidental. Literacy narrative often focus on powerful memories about events, people, situations, places—times when you tried and succeeded or tried and failed; someone who gave you a chance or took one away; situations when someone taught you how to do something or when you taught someone else; churches and schools, contests and performances, plays and public presentations.

A Few Ideas to Get You Started

  • Have you ever written a “goodbye” letter? A love letter? A Poem? A novel?
  • A history or a email message that made you blush? • Did you ever win (or lose) a crucial public debate? Did you ever forget your lines in a play? Learn American Sign Language? Did you bond with Dick and Jane or the Hardy Boys?
  • Did you learn to read by studying the back of a cereal box? Do you remember the first time you thought of yourself as a writer? When you got (or lost) your first library card? The bedtime stories your parents used to read to you? Your favorite book?
  • Have you ever felt illiterate? Can you tell us a story about a time you were punished for reading (or not reading)? A time when you were rewarded for writing insightfully?
  • Can you tell us a story about the first time you used a computer? The first e-mail message you composed? Your first Facebook page? The first video you made and uploaded to YouTube?
  • Do you have memories about playing “teacher” with your friends? Creating a family newspaper or a ‘zine? Reciting scripture to the congregation of your church or at your Bat Mitzvah? Reading the Koran? * Was you mom or dad or one of your grandparents a writer? A reader? Can you tell us a story about how they helped you write or read?
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