Assigning a literacy narrative


A definition of the genre of Literacy Narrative and practical advice on how to develop a writing assignment for a high school Language Arts class.

A Literacy Narrative is a very specific type of memoir where a writer describes how an event, action, or person influenced his or her reading or writing in a positive or negative way. It is an easy task for a pro essay writer even though this writing can take many different shapes and forms, from a full-fledged story to a graphic novel to a sort of essay, depending on what standards and goals you are trying to address.

The Focus of the Narrative

When creating this assignment for your students, consider requiring them to write on just a single, short-term moment. Focusing on eight minutes rather than eight weeks will help them focus on the details and create a strong connection with their audience. It will also enable them to really analyze the impact that such details had on their reading and/or writing.

The word literacy holds many different applications today, and it’s up to you to determine exactly what you will require from your students. If you are teaching a writing class, for example, you might want to have them focus only on their composition. If however, your class addresses numerous themes throughout the semester, having your students write about their digital literacy, musical literacy, film literacy, or various other literacies is always an option.

The Purpose of the Narrative

As with all tasks, it’s important to establish what your goals are with this assignment. Flexibility with this writing project allows you to mold the requirements to your own needs or the state and national standards. In general, a story of this nature will provide students with the opportunity to refine their skills of word choice, voice, and tone, in addition to using their writing as a means of inquiry and learning about themselves.

The Prompt

While there are certainly many ways that you could word the actual assignment, here is one version that has worked well for me in the past:

Tell a true story about your reading or writing development. You should focus on a very short amount of time, detailing the event carefully and emphasizing the lesson that you learned. Moreover, the essay writer website suggests remembering that this is a narrative, or story, not an essay. Here are a few possibilities to get you started. You could write about:

your early or recent school days, either humorous or serious, relating a struggle you experienced (or still experience) in school

  • a memorable experience or event
  • a trip into unfamiliar territory
  • an embarrassing moment that taught you something
  • a monumental misunderstanding
  • an accident
  • an unexpected encounter
  • a conflict or contest

Writing Process

As with most formal writing assignments, it is highly recommended that you approach this task with a definite writing process, where you can assist your students through numerous drafts, incorporating peer revision, written feedback, verbal writing conferences, and self-revision.

How long this takes is really up to you. In my Advanced Composition course, for example, we spend nearly six weeks and a total of four drafts on this single writing assignment, which enables us to explore meaningful word choice, sentence fluency, and other essential skills that are then used later in writing assignments for the course. But limiting this task to a single draft or two is also an option if you are short on time. Again, it’s really about what you want your students to get out of writing this memoir.


If you use a rubric rather than a holistic score for this writing assignment, you might consider basing it on the 6+1 Traits of Good Writing. You can emphasize certain areas or combine others to moderate your assessment practices. For example, being a part of the team of the essay writing service, I use the following categories when assessing the Literacy Narrative:

Ideas: Does the writing emphasize the significance of the event as it relates to literacy? Are the character and setting details relevant and purposeful? Is the dialogue natural and intentional?

Organization: Do the title and first lines grab the reader’s attention? Is the plot structure natural and transitioned well? Does the resolution indicate the narrative’s significance?

Word Choice and Sentence Fluency: Is the vocabulary precise and engaging? Do the sentences vary in length and beginnings?

Voice: Is the writing style appealing and unique? Are rhetorical strategies used to engage the audience?

Conventions: Is the writing relatively free of errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting?

However, you grade the Literacy Narrative, be sure to give your students the grading criteria the first day that you introduce the writing project so that they are well aware of your expectations from the very beginning.