Literacy Narrative, Part 1

Due: 9/12

Length: 500-750 words


We will complete a freewriting exercise in class on 9/3. Following up on that exercise, do some more freewriting in response to the following questions. Don’t worry too much about how the pieces will fit together or what it will all look like in a final essay. Just let your mind go to wherever it goes as you think about the questions. You should try to write for at least five minutes in response to each question. Use as much detail as you can — try to imagine as clearly as you can but don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or structure yet.

  • Please write about the key moment when, where, and how you first learned to read. What was learning to read like for you? What sorts of books did you read?
  • How did you feel about reading and writing as an adolescent — say, during middle and high school? What sorts of experiences did you have as a reader and writing in school?
  • What are your experiences with social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or others? What do you remember about your first experiences with such sites? Do you text on a smartphone? What sorts of experiences have you had writing to/for people with those sorts of technologies?
  • What are some of the biggest struggles you have had as a reader and/or writer? What are some of your best moments as a writer?


Now that you’ve done some brainstorming, write an essay in which you analyze the key experiences that shaped the way you read and write.

Take a step back and reread the freewriting you did, looking for any interesting patterns that you surfaced about your history with reading and writing. You do not need to directly address the questions above or include points from the brainstorming you’ve done, but hopefully in the process of freewriting and thinking about those questions, you’ve recognized some issues or patterns that are interesting enough for you to analyze more carefully.

You’ll have opportunities for revision and later in the term I will ask you to remix the writing you’re doing here into a graphic narrative but for now just focus on drafting this essay.

Nuts and Bolts

Publish your narrative as a page (not a post) on your class website (make certain to add it to the menu, so we can all find it).

As with everything you publish for me this semester, you need more than just words for your narrative — you must have at least one image, video, or audio file with your narrative. You’ll need to provide a caption and give credit to the creator of the image (even if it’s your own). We’ll talk briefly in class on Thursday about Creative Commons and finding CC-licensed images with Flickr.

Reflection Post

Once you have published the page, you need to also write a separate blog post. That post should link to the page you have published and reflect on the process of writing it.

Further instructions for the reflection post here.

Parts 2 & 3

Literacy Narrative, Part 2

Literacy Narrative, Part 3


  1. Dear Professor Morgen,

    I have uploaded my literacy narrative assignment to my site as a page. How do I add it to the menu? Also, how do I give credit for my own picture?

    Thank you,

    Shivani Kumar

    1. Go to Customize in your Dashboard and select Menus. Create a new menu and check the appropriate box assign it to the primary menu location (what that’s called will vary depending on the theme you’ve installed, but it will usually be called the “primary” or “top” or “main” location). You probably want to also check the box to “automatically add new top-level pages to this menu,” at least for now. Then select “Add Items” and add the page you just created to the menu. You can drag items around to change the order or drag an item to the right to make it a subordinate item in the menu. Then hit the blue Publish button at the top to make the changes live on your site.

      For your own image you can include the title if you have one, “by” and provide your own name. Or you can just say “Image mine” if you don’t have a title.

  2. Dear Professor Morgen,

    I am finished writing the literacy narrative assignment but when I try to add my audio file, it keeps giving me the message “this audio file is not supported for security reasons”. I have tried looking up the issue online but I cant find anything. Do you know if there is a way to fix this?

    Thank you,

    1. What format is the audio file? I know WordPress handles mp3s well, but not sure about some other audio formats. If it’s a m4a or aac or wav file, try converting to mp3.

    2. Oh, it looks like the site won’t support uploading audio files now. Send me the audio file and I can host it here on this site, then you can embed it from the URL I send you.

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