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Narrative Assignment (Adapted from The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, 6th ed.

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Narrative Assignment (Adapted from The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, 6th ed.)
Write an autobiographical narrative that focuses a single experience with language, reading, writing, or education. If you cannot think of anything to write that qualifies as a literacy narrative, you may write about any single obstacle you have faced, conflict in your life that you have had to deal with, disability, disadvantage, circumstance or situation that involved a struggle that you can detail. If you are unsure about the direction of your paper, send me a message so we can discuss it.
Take care to write about one experience, to tell one story, rather than to provide an overview that spans several years of your life. Incorporate the literary elements of plot (including at least one scene), character, conflict, setting, theme, and descriptive language in the telling of your story. The finished paper should develop, and complete a narrative point. This essay should be 1000-1500 words in order to be considered complete. Rhetorical Situation: Purpose: The purpose in this course is to experience the full writing process, to develop skill in basic essay composition, to understand narration, to demonstrate understanding of close description or illustration in writing. Your purpose as a writer is to communicate a meaningful experience related to language, reading, writing, or education that compels the reader and has a clear narrative point. Audience: a general audience of readers with varying backgrounds and beliefs and at least a high school education, including your English instructor Tone: your content determines the tone; whether you choose a serious or light-hearted tone, a critical or celebratory one, it should be clear to the reader and consistent throughout Grading: In order to be eligible to be graded from 100% a paper has to be original and complete and clearly respond to the assignment instructions. Editing and format: 30% (Presentation in correct MLA format and effective editing to remove deviations from Standard English) Organization and flow: 30% (Use of topic and summary sentences, use of transitions, logical flow of ideas from paragraph to paragraph and within paragraphs)
Narrative elements: 40% (These include character development, at least one effective scene, a clear sense of setting, a clear plot (something has to happen!, conflict, and a clear narrative point)
Additional Resources: Models: Carefully consider these essays as models of what you are being asked to write. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan
Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie
Also consider Shame by Dick Gregory, included in this Unit, and the first chapter of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris for more exposure to literacy narratives. Consult the following handout on avoiding passive constructions from UT Austin’s Online Writing Center. This review of sentence structure from UT Austin’s Online Writing Center should help you to use a variety of sentence types in your essay as well as to avoid fragments and run on sentences. Typical Features of a Literacy Narrative: a focus on the writer’s experience with language, writing, reading, schooling, teachers, or some other important aspect of education
a focus on bringing an insight about the significance of learning, language, reading, or writing to readers through a clearly developed narrative point or thesis
a focus on engaging readers and connecting them to an understanding of the writer’s educational/learning experience, prompting them to think about their own educational experiences and larger questions about the purpose and value of education
Suggested prompts for brainstorming: early experiences with reading, writing, language, or math (the universal language)
obstacles in your educational past or present
a teacher’s influence or impact on your life (positive or negative)
the influence or impact of a learning environment on your life (can be positive or negative) a break-through moment in your development as a literate person
an educational experience that shaped your identity as a person or student
a reflection upon a past educational experience that you viewed one way in the past and another way now cheating
standardized tests
coping with a learning disability or a condition/illness that affected your education
conflicts between school and home (environment, expectations, values, etc.)

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