ETAP 530: Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
Spring, 2011
Guidelines for the Literacy Narrative













Style, Length, and Related Matters

Submission Guidelines



Overview. In this essay you will relate an experience or event that seems to have been important in shaping the kind of writer and reader you have become or an experience that illuminates the role of literacy in your life. The purpose of the assignment is to explore this experience in order to gain insight into who you are as a writer and reader and to examine the role literacy plays into your life.

Content. For this assignment you might choose a discrete event that was somehow important in your development as a writer and reader, a series of related events, or a phase or period of your life in which certain literate activities figured prominently. You might, for example, tell the story of an especially important moment in your life that profoundly shaped you as the literate person you are today; that moment could be related to a specific school assignment or a specific text that you read or wrote (e.g. a book that deeply influenced you or an important letter that you had to write) that was significant to you for some reason. By contrast, you might focus on a time period during which you had experiences that affected you as a writer or a reader. For example, you might have taken a specific college course that shaped you as a writer or met a teacher or faculty member who became an important influence in your life as a writer or reader. Or you might write a narrative that is some variation of all these.

Whatever experience you choose to focus on, keep in mind that it should be central in some way to your development as a writer and/or reader. You are trying to present your literate self to your readers (your classmates); that is, you are trying to convey a sense of who you are as a writer/reader and how you became that literate person. You are also telling a story that might offer insight into yourself as a literate person and into literacy in general.

Remember, too, that although this essay will be autobiographical, it is not to be an autobiography. In other words, you are not trying to tell the comprehensive history of your development as a literate person; rather, this should be a narrative of a specific experience or set of experiences that helped transform you into the literate person you are.

Style, Length, and Related Matters. Although this is an academic assignment intended for an audience of your classmates, it is somewhat less formal than other assignments in this course. So you have some latitude in adopting a style and approach that feels appropriate for your subject matter, your audience, and the intended purpose of the assignment (as explained above). In short, adopt a style that fits the needs of this specific rhetorical situation, but of course be mindful of the conventions of written English and the expectations of your audience (your classmates as well as the course instructors).

Your finished essay should be 1000-1200 words in length.

Submission Guidelines. Submit your finished essay (as well as drafts) by uploading it to your writing group forum on the ETAP 530 Blackboard Learning System site. (See the guidelines for using Blackboard for more information.) You should submit your profile as a Microsoft Word file or, if you are using a different word processing program, as a rich text file. (Let your instructor know if you have questions about format.)

  • A complete draft of this assignment is due in class on Thursday, January 27th. (Please bring two legible copies of your draft to class.)

  • A revised draft of this assignment is due in class on Thursday, February 3rd. (Please post your revised draft to your writing group's BLS forum before class so that your writing group members will have a chance to read your draft before class.)

  • A final, revised version must be uploaded to your writing group forum on the course Blackboard site by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 10th.

Grading. This assignment is worth 15 (out of 100) points. Points will be awarded on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Substance. Your essay should tell your story in a way that not only conveys a clear sense of the event or experience about which you are writing, but also communicates a sense of the significance of that event or experience. It should provide insight into who you are as writer/reader and into literacy in general and its role in our lives. (6 points)

  • Technique. Your essay should tell the story of your experience effectively, so that your readers understand the experience and are sufficiently engaged in your narrative to feel its importance to you. (5 points)

  • Clarity. You narrative should be organized appropriately for the kind of story you are telling. Your prose should be clear, readable, and engaging, and it should be generally free of error. (4 points)