What exactly IS a literacy narrative?

As you get started with your W131 course, you may discover that one of your earliest writing assignments is a literacy narrative – so what on earth is that, and how do you write one? Basically, when you write a literacy narrative you are telling a story about a “literacy event” in your past which has had an impact on you, good or bad. This literacy event will be something pertaining to reading or writing and may give some insight into why you feel the way you do today about those areas.

(Some people love to read or write, others hate it…but why? Your literacy narrative should give some clues)

So how do you know what to write about in your literacy narrative? Again, check with your professor to see what he/she is looking for in your paper, but some suggestions might be:

  • a memory from school (maybe you had an English teacher in high school who was super-encouraging and made you really enjoy writing…or maybe you found yourself swimming in a sea of red ink every time you had a paper returned and it made you hate writing anything)
  • a vivid memory from childhood (I’ve had several excellent essays from students describing when they first learned to read, or reading with their parents at bedtime when they were children, etc.)
  • a book or author that has really made an impact on you
  • an event at school that was related to reading or writing and that you found interesting, humorous, or embarrassing

Try doing some prewriting to see if any ideas come to mind about these kinds of events from your past. Check in with your professor to see if you are on the right track for what he/she wants you to write about, and as always, feel free to make an appointment with the Writing Center to get some help with your narrative!


written by Sara P.




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