Assignment: Write a short essay (500-750 words) about the impact of reading upon your life. A literacy essay explores oneâ€s growth as a reader. Donâ€t confuse â€œliteracyâ€ with â€œliterature.â€ The goal is to come up with a thesis that states how one specific text, or perhaps a series of them, or just the written word in general contributed to your personal development.
Literacy narratives can often have slightly different focuses, so you have a small amount of room for creativity, but they do deal with detailing a personâ€s path to reading and writing (education and experiences as a reader) and/or the impact that reading and writing has on their lives. Keep in mind that the focus here is on â€œliteracyâ€ (more the act of reading and/or writing) and not as much on â€œliteratureâ€ (which weâ€ll be talking about in class). Your literacy narrative can involve your experiences with various â€œgreatâ€ books, but it will more likely encompass your experiences with a variety of texts, from internet reading, to newspapers, to comic books, to whatever you tend to read or even write in your spare time.
Regardless of how you organize the paper, the final draft of your paper needs to be typed, double spaced, and in 12 point font with one inch margins. Your name, the instructorâ€s name, the course number, and date need to be in the upper left hand corner of the first page. Your last name and the page number should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page (technically itâ€s optional on the first page, but should definitely be on additional pages). See page 488 in A Writerâ€s Reference for an example. My last name is ZHANG
What youâ€ll be graded upon:
15% Introduction: You set a context for why itâ€s important to discuss the place of reading and writing in our lives. How has your experience in these areas shaped your values? What can other people learn from the story you have to tell? You may use a specific anecdote or episode from your life to illustrate your point.
15% Thesis: You state in 1-2 sentences your main idea. The thesis is the culmination of your introduction.
30% Organization. You have two options for organizing your essay, depending on the focus you take:
OPTION 1: If you are writing about your experience becoming literate (learning to read and write), you will probably take a narrative approach, detailing your first experiences in school or your first memories of books or the first time reading or writing seemed to make a big impact on your life. You will want strong transition from paragraph to paragraph, and your paragraphs should be around six sentences in length to be fully developed. Your organization will probably be chronological, moving from stage to stage in your life.
OPTION 2: If you focus more on a specific text or a specific reading experience, youâ€ll structure your essay in a more subject-by-subject fashion. Your introduction will establish that you are writing about significant moments at which literacy or particular texts impacted your life and give a sense of why those moments or texts are important. Your body paragraphs will be organized around each of those texts or moments, explaining what they were and narrating why they mattered. You will still want strong transitions and paragraphs of roughly six sentences.
10% Conclusion: Regardless of which option you choose, you want a conclusion that avoids summarizing what youâ€ve just said. You also donâ€t want to say, â€œIn conclusion.â€¦â€ Your aim in a conclusion is to place the discussion in a larger context. For example, how might those experiences be similar to or different from those of other individuals? How do you envision the role of reading in your life in the future?
15% Grammar and mechanics: Your paper avoids basic grammar mistakes, such as dropped apostrophes in possessives, subject/verb disagreement, arbitrary tense switches, etc. The paper demonstrates a commitment to proofreading by avoiding easy-to-catch typos and word mistakes (effect for affect, for example).
15% Presentation: Your paper meets the minimum length criteria of 750 words, is typed with a title and your name on it. You follow your individual professorâ€s instructions for formatting (margins, placement of the name, etc).
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