#1: Literacy Narrative

Important Dates

  • Rough Draft: Friday, September 13
  • Due Date: Friday, September 20
  • Deadline: Friday, September 27

The Assignment

No matter how you feel about yourself as a writer, you would not be at Virginia Tech if you were not an expert in some kind of literacy. Our discussion of texts and the ways they communicate has explored all the many ways of reading and writing that are necessary to be literate.

For your first assignment, tell a story about what has made them you the writer and/or reader you are today. You can focus on a single important event that shaped how you learned to read and write or several experiences that have contributed to your view of what it means to be literate.

Consider responding to some of the following questions. You do not need to answer all of these questions, or even most of them. Choose questions that inspire you to tell a story or stories based your own experiences with writing:

  • What kind of writer are you? Tell us a story about your own personal history as a writer.
  • Do you love to write? Hate to write? Tell a story about why. What experiences encouraged you to feel the way you do about writing?
  • Have you ever had someone teach you how to write? Tell a story about how that went and why.
  • Has someone ever discouraged you from writing? Tell the story about when this happened.
  • Have you ever won a writing contest or competition? Or have you had someone praise some writing that you have done?
  • Have you ever written an important text to which you paid lots of attention, such as a letter, message, or other important text? Tell a story about that text.
  • Have you ever identified a published author whose style you’d like to emulate? Tell a story about how you encountered this author’s writing and what you like about this author’s writing.
  • Do you consider yourself a writer? Tell what has happened in your life to make you take on this identity.
  • Are you nervous about or afraid of writing? Tell what has happened in your life to encourage this fear/nervousness.

Aim for a piece of writing of 800-1000 words. Don’t worry, however, if you get into this assignment and want to go further by writing more than 1000 words or by telling more than one story. In this case, the more you can tell us, the better we’ll all do in getting to know you! Feel free to make your piece multimodal. In other words, you can add photos, illustrations, cartoons, and other pertinent ways of expressing yourself. Remember that if you add a resource that you did not create yourself, you need to provide documentation.


In addition to the narratives we look at in class, you can find example narratives from The Literacy Narratives of Black Columbus, The Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives (DALN), and University of Central Florida’s online peer-reviewed journal of first-year writing, Stylus.

Additional Resources

Rubric for Assignment #1

FAQs for Assignment #1


Credit: Portions of this assignment were taken from Assignment #1 of The Ohio State University’s Writing II: Rhetorical Composing course (WEXMOOC).

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