Learning To Read And Write

English 101- Professor Schmidt 

Literacy Narrative 

Due: Feb 15 

Length: min 1100 words 

Format Double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-pt. font

Grade: 150 points 


Topic: Learning to Read and Write. 


For this assignment you are to narrate one or two specific stories that illustrate a broader theme or lesson from your experience learning to read and write. 




Learning To Read And Write

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Things to remember: 


  1. The key to this assignment is to try and articulate how your experiences changed and shaped your own sense of identity. 
  2. Don’t try to summarize your whole educational history: try to find one or two moments that were pivotal. 
  3. From those moments ask yourself what were the long-term impacts? This will get you to developing the first point above and will become your theme that ties the paper together. 



Follow the Outline below as best you can: 


A personal essay’s basic structure.

The essay will have two primary components: an experience from your life as well as a central question or theme you wish to explore in your essay. Pick the experience you want to narrate first – keep in mind that it need not be a monumental experience. You can arrive at your central question or theme by considering the following questions:

• Why is this experience significant to you? 

• Have you had other experiences that are in some way related to the one you have decided to explore? What idea connects them? 

• How has this experience influenced your personality or feelings?


Beginning and ending the essay.

As you consider the experience you will focus on for your essay, ask yourself how you can tell the experience so that it creates both a beginning and an ending. You might tell half of the story at the beginning, then tell “the rest of the story” at the end. Perhaps you can tell the entire story at the beginning of your essay, then echo or mirror certain elements of the story at the end. 


Show and tell.

Personal essay writers don’t just tell about what happened. They show. Here’s an example to illustrate the difference.


Show: Once my brother Karl and I were at the dentist waiting for my mom in the waiting room. A couple of older ladies walked in and settled themselves in the two chairs next to Karl. “How are you, young man?” said one. (People like Karl. He has an honest face.) Karl murmured a reply and the two old ladies started to converse discreetly. A look of intense pain came over Karl’s face as he looked over at me. “Marilyn! I have a problem!” he hissed.

“What?” I hissed back. “I can’t really say!” he whispered. “Then tell me later,” I said, laughing. “It needs to be solved before we leave!” breathed Karl urgently. “Then what is it?” I said. Karl leaned closer. “That lady is . . . sitting . . . on . . . my . . . toothbrush!” he howled silently. (From Marilyn N. Nielson, “Reality through Reflection,” BYU Studies 44, no. 1 [2005]: 155.)


Tell: Once my brother Karl and I were at the dentist waiting for my mom in the waiting room. A couple of older ladies walked in and settled themselves in the two chairs next to Karl. One asked how he was. He murmured a reply, but when the two old ladies started to converse discreetly, a look of intense pain came over Karl’s face as he looked over at me. One of them, he whispered, was sitting on his toothbrush.





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