"Literacy Narrative for First-Year Writing"

Hi. I'm Sid Dobrin. This video addresses the literacy narrative
assignment. Because the literacy narrative is such a common
assignment in first-year writing classes, I de- signed this prompt to be flexible to
allow you to adapt it to your specific curricular needs. That said, though, I do have a few suggestions
for assigning the literacy narrative, particularly within the frame of Writing Situations. When I ask students to respond to the literacy
narrative assignment, I emphasize that while the literacy narrative is a specialized kind
of personal narrative, the real purpose in writing literacy narratives is not just to
share your experiences, but to open the doors to making connections with other's experiences. That is, the literacy narrative should be
written to encourage response and participation within the situation. The literacy narrative, that is, asks students
to participate, to see their narratives and experiences as being part of a dynamic conversation
about the commonalities and differences in how we all learn to read and write. Thus, when the assignment asks students to
focus on one or two events, the idea is to write about events that others can relate
to or that the audience might connect with because of similar experiences. Ultimately, because literacy is really about
learning to navigate within particular communities, the literacy narrative should be about how
each student writer identifies with his or her entry into those communities. In this way, I try to emphasize with my students
that the literacy narrative may be a personal narrative, but it is really a narrative about
how you personally learned much more social conventions of reading and writing. I will say, too, that one of the things I
emphasize when I teach the literacy narrative and make this assignment, I try to get students
to focus on the idea of literacy when they map their narratives. It's relatively easy for students to write
the "I knew I loved to read when my mom used to read Harry Potter to me and my sister"
narrative or the "Mrs. Smith was my favorite kindergarten teacher because she read Skippy
John Jones to me" narrative. But I want students to be a bit more critical
in their thinking about those events and focus on what they learned and how those events
actually contributed to their own literacies. These are the kinds of narrative details that
help writers and readers find connections within the situation. This also helps students understand the kinds
of things I'll be looking for when assessing their literacy narratives. When I talk with them about how I'll assess
their assignment responses, I stress the importance of the purpose segment and the thesis segment
of the assessment rubric. I also try to explain the connection between
making claims about their literacies and the situational aware- ness and rhetorical knowledge
parts of the rubric as well. So, those are some of the key things I focus
on when I make this assignment. I'm sure you have areas you focus on, as well,
when teaching literacy narratives, and I hope this assignment helps you get at those things
with your students. Thanks for using Writing Situations and thanks
for watching.

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