Length: 2-3 pages
Due: Wednesday, September 21st by 12:00pm
Once you have completed your Pre-Write, please give your file the name: Your Name – Literacy Pre-Write and place it in this Google Doc Folder
Use this assignment as an opportunity to start gathering your thoughts and ideas for your upcoming Literacy Narrative. This is not expected to be a tightly organized, focussed piece of work. Instead, it is a chance to write freely, without fixed expectations, in an effort to excavate (dig up) some of your own literacy-related memories, family language stories, and thoughts and feelings about language, school, reading, and writing. Don’t think of this as a draft of your formal Literacy Narrative; instead think of it as a way to get in touch of your own ideas and associations around this broad topic. Here are some questions you might want to use as entry points into this writing. I would suggest choosing one as your starting point and then seeing where it takes you. Of course, if none of these ideas speaks to you, you are free to move in your own direction, provided you stick to our theme of literacy, which we understand broadly as our relationship to language and learning.
For this Pre-Writing stage, don’t worry about polishing your language or sounding “academic”; concentrate on the ideas, memories, and experiences you are trying to evoke and explore and let your writing proceed as naturally and freely as you can. Use the list below to spark your thinking:
–What is your family’s “language story”? How might you tell it?
–Describe a pivotal school experience. How did it shape your sense of yourself as a student, a learner, a reader, a writer, a wielder of language, etc. This could be a positive experience or it could be a painful or difficult experience.
–How has language defined you in relation to power? Can you think of a time when you were either empowered by language or disempowered?
–Tell a story about a parent or other person close to you that addresses our themes of language and literacy. What does their story mean to you?
–Choose the reading that spoke to you most deeply. Start crafting your own version of (or response to) that essay. For example, maybe you were moved by Edward Jones’ story, so you choose to meditate on your own “first day” experience. Or maybe you were inspired by the parent-child relationship in “Mother Tongue” and want to think about your own mother tongue.
–What is a text (this could be written, or it could be something visual like a movie or television show) that is important to you and your personal history? Describe its role in your development.
–How has your life required you to move between different languages? This could be literal bilingualism, or it could be simply shifting between various forms of English, as we move between family, friends, work, school, and our on-line communities. What is at stake in these different linguistic spaces? What does this shifting between languages mean to you?
–Who have the “gatekeepers” been in your literacy story? Is there a person who looms large for you – either because he/she/they brought you closer to fulfilling your own identity as a wielder of language, or because he/she/they blocked your path and impeded your progress?