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20 Literacy Narrative

A literacy narrative will need to:

  • Tell a story
  • Have a beginning, middle, and end (plot diagram)
  • Include specific evidence of literacy acquisition
  • Include vivid details
  • Address a particular audience

What is a literacy narrative ? In general, the term “literacy” means the ability to read and write. However, in a more narrow application, literacy means the ability to successfully communicate with a specific audience. Think about it. Different audiences have different expectations and use different vocabularies to discuss topics that are important to them. Sports Illustrated vs. Popular Mechanics:  these two magazines target different audiences as evidenced by the article topics and the diction used within those articles.

The term “narrative” means story; thus, a literacy narrative essay is an essay that tells the story of your literacy. It highlights times in your life during which you have gained knowledge or developed skills. The label “literacy narrative” may sound new, but it’s not. Literacy narratives can be found in autobiographies and memoirs, or think about the times when you are asked to write about your qualifications, such as for a scholarship, a job, or an internship. These are all examples of literacy narratives. 

For a quick explanation, Ryan Hitch offers an overview of literacy narrative in  this  YouTube video.

Now, reflect on your own audiences. We interact one way with our families and friends, with inside jokes and shared experiences. We interact another way in more formal settings, such as in class or at work. In these settings, we become a little more reserved and use language specific to that setting. Likewise, y our writing style reflects who you are, which adapts to individual audiences and purposes or more specifically, the rhetorical situation . 

A  literacy narrative essay should take your readers through experiences in your life when you acquired knowledge and skills that make you who you are today. These skills can be gained in lots of situations, such as academic, social, or technical. What is a technical situation? Moreover, a literacy narrative can also include your goals for the future. Overall, a literacy narrative essay demonstrates skills that you have developed over time, which will enable your success in a particular area/field.

Keep your purpose in mind. Why are you writing a literacy narrative (besides for class)? Do you deserve that scholarship? Should you be hired for that job position? Should you receive a spot in that specialized program? A literacy narrative is your way to prove that you should be granted whatever you are asking for. It’s your chance to explain how all your education, experience, and character make you the best choice out of everyone else who has also applied.

If you would like more on literacy narratives , LibreText has full chapter with examples and instructions for writing a literacy narrative of your own. A good place to begin is with  LibreText ‘s chapter: “Literacy Narrative: Building Bridges, Bridging Gaps”   or with the example: “ Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover,”

What are some examples of this genre?

  • “Literacy Narrative Examples for College Students” 
  • “Embracing My Culturally Diverse Literacy” by Sarah Royer
  • College Essay Example #5 for Cornell College of College of Arts and Sciences (It’s about halfway down the page)

First-Year Composition Copyright © 2021 by Jackie Hoermann-Elliott and Kathy Quesenbury is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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The Power of Literacy Narratives

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I first learned to read at the age of three while sitting on my grandmother’s lap in her high-rise apartment on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, IL. While flipping casually through Time magazine, she noticed how I took a keen interest in the blur of black and white shapes on the page. Soon, I was following her wrinkled finger from one word to the next, sounding them out, until those words came into focus, and I could read. It felt as though I had unlocked time itself.

What Is a “Literacy Narrative?”

What are your strongest memories of reading and writing? These stories, otherwise known as “literacy narratives,” allow writers to talk through and discover their relationships with reading, writing, and speaking in all its forms. Narrowing in on specific moments reveals the significance of literacy’s impact on our lives, conjuring up buried emotions tied to the power of language, communication, and expression.

To be “ literate ” implies the ability to decode language on its most basic terms, but literacy also expands to one’s ability to "read and write" the world — to find and make meaning out of our relationships with texts, ourselves, and the world around us. At any given moment, we orbit language worlds. Soccer players, for example, learn the language of the game. Doctors talk in technical medical terms. Fishermen speak the sounds of the sea. And in each of these worlds, our literacy in these specific languages allows us to navigate, participate and contribute to the depth of knowledge generated within them.

Famous writers like Annie Dillard, author of "The Writing Life," and Anne Lammot, "Bird by Bird," have penned literacy narratives to reveal the highs and lows of language learning, literacies, and the written word. But you don’t have to be famous to tell your own literacy narrative — everyone has their own story to tell about their relationships with reading and writing. In fact, the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a publicly accessible archive of personal literacy narratives in multiple formats featuring over 6,000 entries. Each shows the range of subjects, themes, and ways into the literacy narrative process as well as variations in terms of voice, tone, and style.

How to Write Your Own Literacy Narrative

Ready to write your own literacy narrative but don’t know where to begin?

  • Think of a story linked to your personal history of reading and writing. Perhaps you want to write about your favorite author or book and its impact on your life. Maybe you remember your first brush with the sublime power of poetry. Do you remember the time you first learned to read, write or speak in another language? Or maybe the story of your first big writing project comes to mind. Make sure to consider why this particular story is the most important one to tell. Usually, there are powerful lessons and revelations uncovered in the telling of a literacy narrative.
  • Wherever you begin, picture the first scene that comes to mind in relation to this story, using descriptive details. Tell us where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing in this specific moment when your literacy narrative begins. For example, a story about your favorite book may begin with a description of where you were when the book first landed in your hands. If you’re writing about your discovery of poetry, tell us exactly where you were when you first felt that spark. Do you remember where you were when you first learned a new word in a second language?
  • Continue from there to explore the ways in which this experience had meaning for you. What other memories are triggered in the telling of this first scene? Where did this experience lead you in your writing and reading journey? To what extent did it transform you or your ideas about the world? What challenges did you face in the process? How did this particular literacy narrative shape your life story? How do questions of power or knowledge come into play in your literacy narrative?

Writing Toward a Shared Humanity

Writing literacy narratives can be a joyful process, but it can also trigger untapped feelings about the complexities of literacy. Many of us carry scars and wounds from early literacy experiences. Writing it down can help us explore and reconcile these feelings in order to strengthen our relationship with reading and writing. Writing literacy narratives can also help us learn about ourselves as consumers and producers of words, revealing the intricacies of knowledge, culture, and power bound up in language and literacies. Ultimately, telling our literacy stories brings us closer to ourselves and each other in our collective desire to express and communicate a shared humanity.​

Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein is a poet, writer, and educator from Chicago, IL (USA) who currently splits her time in East Africa. Her essays on arts, culture, and education appear in Teaching Artist Journal, Art in the Public Interest, Teachers & Writers Magazine, Teaching Tolerance, The Equity Collective, AramcoWorld, Selamta, The Forward, among others.

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The Importance of Literacy Essay (Critical Writing)

How can literacy affect one’s life essay introduction.

Literacy is a skill that is never late to acquire because it is essential for education, employment, belonging to the community, and ability to help one’s children. Those people, who cannot read, are deprived of many opportunities for professional or personal growth. Unwillingness to become literate can be partly explained by lack of resources and sometimes shame; yet, these obstacles can and should be overcome.

How Can Literacy Affect One’s Life? Essay Main Body

First, one can say that literacy is crucial for every person who wants to understand the life of a society. It is also essential for ability to critically evaluate the world and other people. In his book, Frederick Douglass describes his experiences of learning to read. Being a slave, he had very few opportunities for education.

Moreover, planters were unwilling to teach their slaves any reading skills because they believed that literacy would lead to free thinking and slaves’ aspirations for freedom (Douglass, 96). Overall, they were quite right in their assumption because literacy gives people access to information, and they understand that they can achieve much more than they have. This can be one of the reasons for learning to read.

Yet, literary is essential for many other areas of life, for example, employment. Statistical data show that low-literate adults remain unemployed for approximately six months of the year (Fisher, 211). This problem becomes particularly serious during the time when economy is in the state of recession. It is particularly difficult for such people to retain their jobs especially when businesses try to cut their expenses on workforce.

One should take into account that modern companies try to adapt new technologies or tools, and the task of a worker is to adjust to these changes. Thus, literacy and language proficiency are important for remaining competitive. Furthermore, many companies try to provide training programs to their employees, but participation in such programs is hardly possible with basic reading skills. Thus, these skills enable a person to take advantage of many opportunities.

Additionally, one has to remember that without literacy skills people cannot help their children who may struggle with their homework assignments. Moreover, ability to read enables a person to be a part of the community in which he or she lives. In his essay The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society , Jonathan Kozol eloquently describes the helplessness of illiterate people.

This helplessness manifests itself in a variety of ways; for example, one can mention inability to read medicine prescriptions, contracts, ballot papers, official documents, and so forth (Kozol, unpaged). While speaking about these people, Jonathan Kozol uses the expression “an uninsured existence” which means that they are unaware of their rights, and others can easily exploit them (Kozol, unpaged). To a great extent, illiterate individuals can just be treated as second-class citizens.

This is a danger that people should be aware of. To be an active member of a community, one has to have access to a variety of informational resources, especially, books, official documents, newspapers, printed announcements, and so forth. For illiterate people, these sources are inaccessible, and as a result, they do not know much about the life of a village, town, city, or even a country in which they live.

In some cases, adults are unwilling to acquire literacy skills, because they believe that it is too late for them to do it. Again, one has to remember that there should always be time for learning, especially learning to read.

Secondly, sometimes people are simply ashamed of acknowledging that they cannot read. In their opinion, such an acknowledgment will result in their stigmatization. Yet, by acting in such a way, they only further marginalize themselves. Sooner or later they will admit that ability to read is important for them, and it is better to do it sooner.

Apart from that, people should remember that there are many education programs throughout the country that are specifically intended for people with low literacy skills (Fisher, 214). Certainly, such programs can and should be improved, but they still remain a chance that illiterate adults should not miss. If these people decide to seek help with this problem, they will be assisted by professional educators who will teach them the reading skills that are considered to be mandatory for an adult person.

Although it may seem a far-fetched argument, participation in such programs can open the way to further education. As it has been said by Frederick Douglass learning can be very absorbing and learning to read is only the first step that a person may take (Douglass, 96). This is another consideration that one should not overlook.

The Importance of Literacy: Essay Conclusion

Overall, these examples demonstrate that ability to read can open up many opportunities for adults. Employment, education, and ability to uphold one’s rights are probably the main reasons why people should learn to read. Nonetheless, one should not forget that professional growth and self-development can also be very strong stimuli for acquiring or improving literacy skills. Therefore, people with poor literacy skills should actively seek help in order to have a more fulfilling life.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. “Learning to Read.” Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass. New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Print.

Fisher, Nancy. “Literacy Education and the Workforce: bridging the gap.” Journal of Jewish Communal Service 82. 3 (2007): 210-215. Print.

Kozol, Jonathan. The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society. Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence, 2008. Web.

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How to Write a Literacy Narrative Essay | Guide & Examples

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Mastering an art of writing requires students to have a guideline of how to write a good literacy narrative essay, emphasizing the details they should consider. This article begins by defining this type of academic document, its distinctive features, and its unique structure. Moreover, the guideline teaches students how to choose some topics and provides a sample outline and an example of a literacy narrative essay. Other crucial information is the technical details writers should focus on when writing a document, 10 things to do and not to do, and essential tips for producing a high-standard text. Therefore, reading this guideline benefits students and others because one gains critical insights that help to start writing a literacy narrative essay and want to meet a scholarly standard.

General Aspects of How to Write an Outstanding Literacy Narrative Essay

Learning how to write many types of essays should be a priority for any student hoping to be intellectually sharp. Besides being an exercise for academic assessment, writing is a platform for developing mental faculties, including intellect, memory, imagination, reason, and intuition. This guideline of how to write a literacy narrative, and this type of essay requires students to tell their story through the text. It defines a literacy narrative, distinctive text features, unique structure, possible topics students can choose from, and the technicality of writing this kind of text. There is also a sample outline and an example of a good literacy narrative essay. Hence, this guideline gives students critical insights for writing a high-standard literacy narrative essay.

How to Write a Literacy Narrative Essay | Guide & Examples

Definition of What Is a Literacy Narrative Essay and Its Meaning

A literacy narrative is an essay that tells the writer’s personal story. It differs from other types of papers, including an argumentative essay, an analytical essay, a cause and effect essay, a report, or a research paper. While these other texts require students to borrow information from different sources to strengthen a thesis statement and back up claims, a literacy narrative means that students narrate an experience or event that has impacted them significantly. In other words, writers focus on one or several aspects of their lives and construct a story through the text. Therefore, when writing a literacy narrative essay, students should examine and reexamine their life course to identify experiences, events, or issues that stand out because they were pleasant or unpleasant. After identifying a memorable aspect of their life, students should use their accumulated knowledge to construct a narrative through speaking, reading, or writing.

Distinctive Features of a Literacy Narrative Essay

Every type of scholarly text has distinctive features that differentiate it from others. While some features may be standard among academic papers, most are not. Therefore, when writing a literacy narrative essay, students must first familiarize themselves with the features that make this kind of document distinct from others, like reports and research papers. With such knowledge, writers can know when to use an element when telling their personal stories through writing. Some distinctive features of a literacy narrative essay include a personal tone, a private tale, descriptive language, show-not-tell, active voice, similes and metaphors, and dialogue.

💠 Personal Tone

A personal tone is a quality that makes a narrative personal, meaning it is the writer telling the story. In this respect, students should use the first-person language, such as ‘I’ and ‘we,’ throughout the story. Using these terms makes the audience realize that the story is about the writer and those close to them, such as family, peers, and colleagues. The value of using a personal tone in writing a literacy narrative essay is that it reinforces the story’s theme, such as celebration or tragedy. In essence, people hearing, listening, or reading the story can appreciate its direct effect on the reader, speaker, or writer.

💠 Private Story

The essence of a literacy narrative essay is to tell a personal story. In this respect, telling people about a private experience, event, or issue gives this kind of text a narrative identity. Although the story people tell need not be about them, they must have been witnesses. For example, one can write a literacy narrative essay about their worst experience after joining college. Such a narrative should tell a private story involving the writer directly. Alternatively, people can write a literacy narrative essay about the day they witnessed corruption in public office. Such a narrative should not necessarily focus on the writer but on corrupt individuals in public office. Therefore, a private story should have the writer as the central character or a witness to an event.

💠 Descriptive Language

Since a literacy narrative essay is about a personal, private story that tells the writer’s experience, it is critical to provide details that help the audience to identify with the experience. Individuals can only do this activity by using descriptive language in their stories because the audience uses the information to imagine what they hear or read. An example of descriptive language is where, instead of writing, “I passed my aunt by the roadside as I headed home to inform others about the event,” one should write, “As I headed home to inform others about the happening, I came across my aunt standing on the roadside with a village elder in what seemed like a deep conversation about the event that had just transpired.” This latter statement is rich with information the audience can use to imagine the situation.

💠 Show-Not-Tell

A literacy narrative essay aims to help the audience to recreate the writer’s experience in their minds. As such, they focus less on telling the audience what happened and more on ‘showing’ them how events unfolded. A practical method for doing this activity is comprehensively narrating experiences and events. For example, authors should not just write about how an experience made them feel, but they should be thorough in their narration by telling how the feeling affected them, such as influencing them to do something. As a result, a literacy narrative essay allows writers to show the audience how past experiences, events, or situations affected them or influenced their worldviews.

💠 Active Voice

Academic writing conventions demand that students write non-scientific scholarly documents, including literacy narrative essays, in the active voice, meaning writing in a form where the subject of a sentence performs the action. Practically, it should follow the following format: subject + verb + object. For example, this arrangement makes the sentence easy to read but, most importantly, keeps meanings in sentences clear and avoids complicating sentences or making them too wordy. The opposite of the active voice is the passive voice, which is common in scientific papers. The following sentence exemplifies the active voice: “The young men helped the old lady climb the stairs.” A passive voice would read: “The old woman was helped by the young men to climb up the stairs.” As is evidence, the active voice is simple, straightforward, and short as opposed to the passive voice.

💠 Similes and Metaphors

Similes and metaphors are literary devices or figures of speech writers use to compare two things that are not alike in literacy narrative essays. The point of difference between these aspects is that similes compare two things by emphasizing one thing is like something else, while metaphors emphasize one thing is something else. Simply put, similes use the terms ‘is like’ or ‘is as…as’ to emphasize comparison between two things. A metaphor uses the word ‘is’ to highlight the comparison. Therefore, when writing a literary narrative essay, students should incorporate similes by saying, “Friendship is like a flowery garden,” meaning friendship is pleasant. An example of a metaphor one can use is the statement: “My uncle’s watch is a dinosaur,” meaning it is ancient, a relic.

Dialogue is communication between two or more people familiar with plays, films, or novels. The purpose of this kind of communication is to show the importance of an issue to different people. Generally, discussions are the most common platforms for dialogue because individuals can speak their minds and hear what others say about the same problem. Dialogue is a distinctive feature of a literacy narrative essay because it allows writers to show-not-tell. Authors can show readers how their interaction with someone moved from pleasant to unpleasant through dialogue. Consequently, dialogue can help readers to understand the writer’s attitudes, mindset, or state of mind during an event described in the text. As such, incorporating a dialogue in a literacy narrative essay makes the text personal to the writer and descriptive to the reader.

Unique Structure of a Literacy Narrative Essay

Besides the distinctive features above, a literacy narrative is distinct from other types of scholarly documents because it has a unique essay structure. In academic writing, a text’s structure denotes essay outline that writers adopt to produce the work. For example, it is common knowledge that essays should have three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. In the same way, literacy narratives, which also follow this outline, have a structure, which students should demonstrate in the body. The structure addresses a literacy issue, solution, lesson, and summary. This structure allows writers to produce a coherent paper that readers find to have a logical flow of ideas.

1️⃣ Literacy Issue

A literacy issue signifies a problem or struggles for the writer and is the personal or private issue that the narrative focuses on. Ideally, students use this issue to give the audience a sneak peek into their personalities and private life. Most literacy issues are personal experiences involving a problem or struggle and their effect on the writer and those close to them, like family members or friends. Therefore, when writing a literacy narrative essay, students should identify personal problems or struggles in their past and make them the paper’s focal subject.

2️⃣ Solution

The solution element in a literacy narrative essay describes how writers overcame their problems or managed personal struggles. Simply put, it is where authors tell and show readers how they solved the personal, private issue that is the paper’s subject. Such information is crucial to readers because they need to know what happened to the writer, who they see as the hero or protagonist of the story. For example, literacy narratives are informative because they show the audience how writers dealt with a problem or struggle and how they can use the same strategy to overcome their examples. From this perspective, students should write a literacy narrative essay to inform and empower readers through insights that are relevant and applicable to one’s life.

The lesson element is the message readers get from the writer’s narrative about a literacy issue and its solution. For example, students can talk about how lacking confidence affects their social life by undermining their ability to create and nurture friendships. This problem is personal and becomes a literacy issue. Then, they show readers how they dealt with the situation, such as reading books and articles on building personal confidence. Writers should use practical examples of how they solved their problems or struggles. Overall, including all the information about the unique situation or struggle and the solution helps readers to learn a lesson, what they take away after reading the text. As such, students should know that their literacy narrative essays must have a lesson for their readers.

4️⃣ Summary

The summary element briefly describes a personal experience and its effects. Every literacy narrative essay must summarize the writer’s experience to allow readers to judge, such as learning the value of something. When summarizing their personal story, such as an experience, students should understand that the summary must be brief but detailed enough to allow readers to put themselves in their place. In other words, the summary must be relevant to the reader and the broader society. The most crucial element in the summary is emphasizing the lesson from the personal issue by telling how the writer addressed the personal issue.

Examples of Famous Literacy Narrative Essays

Research is an essential activity that helps writers to find credible sources to support their work. When writing literacy narrative essays, students should adopt this approach to find famous literacy narratives and discover what makes them popular in the literary world. Students should focus on how writers adopt the unique structure described above. The list below highlights five popular literacy narratives because they are high-standard texts.

Learning to Read by Malcolm X

Malcolm X’s Learning to Read is a literacy narrative that describes his journey to enlightenment. The text reflects the unique structure of a literacy narrative because it communicates a personal issue, the solution to the problem, a lesson to the reader, and a summary of the writer’s experience. For example, the literacy issue is the writer’s hardships that inspired his journey to becoming a literate activist. After dropping from school at a young age, Malcolm X committed a crime that led to his imprisonment. The solution to his hardships was knowledge, and he immersed himself in education by reading in the prison library, gaining essential knowledge that helped him to confront his reality. The lesson is that education is transformative, and people can educate themselves from ignorance to enlightenment. The summary is that personal struggles are a ladder to more extraordinary life achievements.

Scars: A Life in Injuries by David Owen

David Owen’s Scars: A Life in Injuries is a literacy narrative that adopts the unique structure above. The literacy issue in the story is Owen’s scars, including over ten injuries and witnessing Duncan’s traumas. For example, the solution that the article proposes for dealing with personal scars is finding a purpose in each. The text describes how Owen saw each scar not as bad but as something that gave him a reason to live. The lesson is that scars are not just injuries but stories people can tell others to give hope and a reason for living. The summary is that life’s misfortunes should not be a reason to give up but a motivation to press on. It clarifies that, while misfortunes can lead to despair, one must be bold enough to see them as scars, not disabilities.

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son reflects the writer’s tense relationship with his father in the context of racial tension that gripped New York City in the mid-20th century. The story fits the unique structure of a literacy narrative. The personal issue in the text is the writer’s tense relationship with his father. The solution to this struggle is accepting life as it is and humans as they are, not struggling to change anyone or anything. For example, the lesson in the text is that the family can cause pain and anguish, and the best people can do is not to let others influence their feelings, attitude, behaviors, or motivations in life. The summary is that people’s struggles are a fire that sparks a revolution of ideas that uplift them and others in the broader society.

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father is the story of the writer’s search for his biracial identity that satisfies the unique structure of a literacy narrative. For example, the personal issue in the text is Obama’s desire to understand the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, which propelled him to travel to Kenya. The journey exposed him to brutal poverty and tribal conflict and a community with an enduring spirit. The solution to this personal struggle is becoming a community organizer in the tumultuous political and racial strife that birthed despair in the inner cities. The reader learns that community is valuable in healing wounds that can lead to distress. The summary is that family is crucial to one’s identity, and spending time to know one’s background is helpful for a purposeful and meaningful life.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast recalls the writer’s time in Paris during the 1920s. The personal issue in the text is dealing with a changing Paris. The solution to the writer’s struggle was to build a network of friends and use them as a study. For example, the text summarizes the writer’s story by discussing his relationships, including befriending Paul Cézanne, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott  Fitzgerald. He found some unpleasant and others very hedonistic. The reader learns from the text that friendships are vital in one’s professional journey because they provide insights into the attitudes that make up the human community. The summary is that one’s friendships are crucial in social and intellectual development, despite the weaknesses of some friends.

Topic Examples for Writing a Good Literacy Narrative Essay

Since students may get a chance to write a literacy narrative essay, they should learn how to choose good essay topics. Typically, students receive instructions specifying the topic, but, sometimes, such specifications may be lacking. In such an instance, one must know how to choose a good theme from lists of popular narrative essay topics or personal essay topics. For example, the best approach in selecting a subject is to read widely while noting valuable ideas. These aspects are a good starting point when deciding the subject of a literacy narrative essay. The following list provides easy topics for this kind of scholarly paper because they require students to tell a personal story, addressing the elements of the unique structure.

  • Overcoming a Fear That Changed My Life
  • A Memorable Day in Winter
  • My Experience in an Adventure in Africa
  • The Greatest Lessons in Friendship
  • My Family Is My Anchor
  • The Day I Will Never Forget
  • My Life as a Community Advocate
  • Delving Into the Enigma of Alternate Universes: A Hypothetical Journey

Sample Outline Template for Writing a Literacy Narrative Essay

I. Essay Introduction

  • A hook: An exciting statement to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Background of the topic.
  • A thesis that states the topic’s significance to the writer and reader.

A. Literacy Issue:

  • State the literacy issue that signifies a personal problem, struggle, or issue.

B. Solution

  • Give some background information about the literacy issue.
  • Describe the setting of the literacy issue.
  • Mention some characters involved in solving the literacy issue.
  • Give a short story about the literacy issue and its significance.

D. Summary:

  • State the outcomes of the literacy issue through detailed language.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis.
  • State the outcome and the lesson.

Example of a Literacy Narrative Essay

Topic: My Life as a Community Advocate

I. Example of an Introduction of a Literacy Narrative Essay

Community service is a noble idea that should form part of every person’s life mantra. The context of community is the myriad social issues that may undermine people’s quality of life without adequate interventions. My life as a community advocate is about how I have helped to address social issues without holding any public office, evidence that all one needs is love, concern, focus, and commitment.

II. Examples of Body Paragraphs of a Literacy Narrative Essay

A. literacy issue sample paragraph.

Community service is a noble duty every person should view as an intervention against social problems that potentially undermine the quality of life of vulnerable groups in society, such as children, persons living with disabilities, and senior citizens. Community advocacy is standing up for the community in critical forums where decision-makers gather. As such, my life as a community advocate involves attending community meetings, political gatherings, seminars, and any association that consists of an interaction between ordinary people and those in leadership. My goal in such meetings is to raise issues affecting vulnerable groups in my community, which need more attention from local, state, or national leadership.

B. Solution Sample Paragraph

My life as a community advocate happens in the community where I live and any place where leaders with the power to change the community’s political, economic, and social architecture gather. In this respect, people involved in my role as a community advocate include elected leaders at the local, state, and national levels and leaders of various groups, including senior citizens and persons with disabilities. I also interact with school administrators, social workers, and health professionals like psychologists. These people are valuable in providing insights into different groups’ challenges and what is missing to make their lives satisfactory, if not better. It is common knowledge that vulnerable groups are significantly disadvantaged across dimensions of life, including employment, healthcare, and leadership. Therefore, my life as a community advocate focuses on being a voice for these groups in forums where those with the potential to improve their experiences and outcomes are present.

C. Lesson Sample Paragraph

An event that makes me proud of being a community advocate is when I helped to create a school-based program for children from low-income households below the age of five in my county. The program’s objective was to feed children and provide essential amenities they lacked due to their parent’s or guardians’ economic circumstances. Over time, I have learned that several counties across the state have adopted the program and made the lives of vulnerable children promising.

D. Summary Sample Paragraph

I took part in activities and improved the quality of health support for children. I have learned from several clinicians and social workers that children in the program have shown improved scores in body immunity because of good nutrition. Such news makes me proud to be a community advocate and continue being a voice for the voiceless in a society where politicians have prioritized self-interests in local, state, and national leadership.

III. Example of a Conclusion of a Literacy Narrative Essay

My life as a community advocate has shown me that people can solve social problems without minding their position in the community. The only tools I have used are love, concern, focus, and commitment to make the lives of vulnerable groups satisfactory, if not better. Looking back, I feel proud knowing I have helped vulnerable children to experience a life they may have missed if no one showed love and care. My community advocacy is evidence that people can solve social problems by caring.

4 Easy Steps for Writing a Great Literacy Narrative Essay

Writing a literacy narrative essay is a technical exercise that involves several steps. Each step requires writers to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of how to write this type of scholarly document. In essence, the technical details of writing a good literacy narrative essay are the issues one must address in each step of writing: preparation, stage setup, writing a first draft, and wrap-up. Although not every detail applies in a literacy narrative, most do, and students must grasp all for an improved understanding of what writing a high-standard academic document means.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the first step in starting a literacy narrative essay. One technical detail students should address is defining a specific topic. Typically, instructors choose the topic, but students can select one if such a specification is lacking. For example, the best way to choose a topic is research, where one searches for documents, including famous narratives, on the Internet, using online databases. The second technical detail is to generate ideas, which means reading reliable sources while making notes. In this task, one should consider the audience to determine whether to use simple or technical language.

Step 2: Stage Set Up

Setting the stage is the second step in writing a literacy narrative essay. The first technical detail one needs to address is to create a well-organized outline according to the one above. For example, this task helps writers to assess their ideas to see whether they are sufficient for each paper section. The second technical detail is gathering stories by recalling experiences and events significantly affecting one’s life. The last technical point is constructing a hook, a statement that will help the text to grab readers’ attention from the start.

Step 3: Writing a First Draft

Writing a first draft of a literacy narrative essay is the third step in this activity. The first technical detail students should address is creating a draft. This text is the first product of the writing process and helps writers to judge their work. For example, the main issue is whether they have used all the ideas to construct a compelling narrative. The answer will determine if they will add new ideas or delete some, meaning adding or deleting academic sources. Whatever the outcome, writers may have to alter clear outlines to fit all the ideas necessary to make papers compelling and high-standard.

Writing an Introduction for a Literacy Analysis Essay

Students should focus on three outcomes when writing a good introduction: a hook, context, and thesis. The hook is a statement that captures the reader’s attention. As such, one must use a quote, fact, or question that triggers the reader’s interest to want to read more. Context is telling readers why the topic is vital to write about. A thesis is a statement that summarizes the writer’s purpose for writing a literacy narrative essay.

Writing a Body for a Literacy Analysis Essay

Writing the body part of a literacy narrative essay requires addressing the essential elements of a unique structure. The first element is to state a personal issue and make it the center of the narrative. The best approach is to look into the past and identify an experience or event with a lasting impact. The second element is a solution to the problem or struggle resulting from the personal issue. Therefore, writers should identify personal problems that expose them to conflict with others or social structures and systems. The third element is a lesson, how the personal issue and the solution affect the writer and potentially the reader. The last element is a summary, where authors conclude by giving readers a life perspective relating to the personal story.

Writing a Conclusion for a Literacy Analysis Essay

When writing a conclusion part for a literacy narrative essay, students should summarize the story by reemphasizing the thesis, the personal issue, and the lesson learned. Ideally, the goal of this section is not to introduce new ideas but reinforce what the paper has said and use the main points to conclude the story. As such, writers should not leave readers with questions but give information that allows them to draw a good lesson from the text.

Step 4: Wrap Up

The last step in writing a literacy narrative essay is wrapping up a final draft. The first technical detail students should address is revising the sections without a logical order of ideas. Ideally, one should read and reread their work to ensure the sentences and paragraphs make logical sense. For example, this task should ensure all body paragraphs have a topic sentence, a concluding sentence, and a transition. The next technical detail is editing a final draft by adding or deleting words and fixing grammar and format errors. Lastly, writers should confirm that a literary narrative essay adopts a single formatting style from beginning to end. Content in literacy narratives includes block quotes and dialogue. Students should format them appropriately as follows:

  • Block quotes: Select the text to quote, click “Layout” on the ribbon, set the left indent to 0.5cm, click the “Enter” key, then use the arrows in the indent size box to increase or decrease the indentation.
  • Dialogue: Use quotation marks to start and end spoken dialogue and create a new paragraph for each speaker.

20 Tips for Writing a Literacy Narrative Essay

Writing a literacy narrative essay requires students to learn several tips. These elements include choosing topics that are meaningful to the writer, generating ideas from the selected themes and putting them in sentence form, creating a clear outline and populating it with the ideas, writing the first draft that reflects the unique structure (literacy issue, solution, lesson, and summary), reading and rereading the draft, revising and editing the draft to produce a high-quality literacy narrative essay, proofreading the document.

10 things to do when writing a literacy narrative essay include:

  • developing a hook to grab the readers’ attention,
  • writing in paragraphs,
  • using the correct grammar,
  • incorporating verbs that trigger the reader’s interest,
  • showing rather than telling by using descriptive language,
  • incorporating a dialogue,
  • varying sentence beginnings,
  • following figurative speech,
  • formatting correctly,
  • rereading the text.

10 things not to do include:

  • choosing an irrelevant topic that does not stir interest in the reader,
  • presenting a long introduction,
  • providing a thesis that does not emphasize a personal issue,
  • writing paragraphs without topic sentences and transitions,
  • ignoring the unique structure of a literacy narrative essay (literacy issue, solution, lesson, and summary),
  • focusing on too many personal experiences or events,
  • using several formatting styles,
  • writing sentences without logical sense,
  • finalizing a document with multiple grammatical and formatting mistakes,
  • not concluding the narrative by reemphasizing the thesis and lesson learned.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Literacy Narrative Essay

  • For writing a good literacy narrative essay, think of a personal experience or an event with a lasting impact.
  • Use descriptive language to narrate the experience or event.
  • Identify a conflict in the experience or event.
  • State how the conflict shaped your perspective.
  • Provide a solution to the conflict.
  • Mention the setting of the personal experience or event, including people or groups involved.
  • State the significance of the experience or event to people and groups involved and the broader society.

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examples of literacy essays

English Writing Guide

  • Literacy Narrative
  • Visual Analysis
  • Rhetorical Analysis
  • Argument Research Paper
  • The Writing Handbook
  • Using the Library


This guide is adapted from the Writing Guide with Handbook by OpenStax .

CC BY License

What is a literacy narrative?

  • The Writing Guide: Literacy Narrative Link to the online, interactive chapter on Literacy Narrative.
  • Literacy Narrative Chapter 3 from The Writing Guide As a PDF for downloading or printing.

Topics Covered

  • Identity and Expression
  • Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Lecture Slides for Literacy Narrative As a PDF for downloading or printing.
  • How to Write a Literacy Narrative Guide with exercises to assist you in writing a literacy narrative.
  • Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives The DALN is an open public resource made up of stories from people just like you about their experiences learning to read, write, and generally communicate with the world around them.
  • Next: Visual Analysis >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024 7:36 AM
  • URL: https://library.jeffersonstate.edu/Writing-Guide-OpenStax


100+ Best Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Students 2024

100+ Best Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Students 2024

“Have you ever heard of ‘Literacy Narrative Essay Examples’? Literacy is a magical gateway that includes essays about our most creative and interesting world literature.

Helen Keller once said, ‘The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.’ What she meant is that literacy is more than just reading and writing time to time. It’s about seeing the world in a whole new way, about dreaming big and finding your own voice through words.

In this blog, we’re mainly focusing on an incredible ‘Literacy Narrative Essay Examples.’ We’ll explore over 100 different narrative essay example topics for every student. These literacy narrative examples take us from school to college, college to doctoral degree in literacy, and from the past to the present.

Are you ready to explore the world of examples of literacy narratives? It might just change the way you see things and inspire you. Let’s dive into this amazing world together!”

Also Read: 189+ Interesting & Exciting Physics Project Ideas for College Students 2024

Table of Contents

What Is A Literacy Narrative Essay

A literacy narrative essay is basically related to a personal literacy story in an essay in which the author explains his or her history with the written and spoken word.

This essay style encourages expert writers to think back on their own personal experiences with reading and writing. They may discuss their earliest recollections of reading and writing, their experiences with books, instructors, and libraries, and the influence that reading and writing have had on their educational, occupational, and personal growth.

Essays of personal story literacy may be used for all three purposes. These essays are not only a method of personal storytelling but also a means of appreciating the significance of literacy in our lives, since they typically examine the struggles and changes that occur as a person becomes more skilled in reading and writing.

10 Different Types of Writing Styles

Following are the 10 Different Types of Writing Styles for writing a good Essay.

  • Narrative Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Expository Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Academic Writing
  • Journalistic Writing
  • Business Writing

What Is The Purpose of A Literacy Narrative

The main purpose of a Literacy Narrative essay is given below.

  • Self-Reflection
  • Personal Storytelling
  • Sharing Experiences
  • Exploring Growth and Development
  • Examining the Impact of Literacy
  • Expressing Personal Connection with Language
  • Demonstrating the Significance of Literacy
  • Building Empathy and Understanding
  • Inspiring Others
  • Celebrating the Power of Words

100+ Best Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Students

Here are the 100+ Best Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Students.

Easy Literature and Reading Essay Examples For Elementary School

  • The Book That Changed My Life
  • Discovering the World of Classic Literature
  • My Favorite Genre is mystery Novels
  • The Joy of Reading Poetry
  • How Audiobooks Reshaped My Reading Experience
  • The Impact of Libraries on My Reading Habits
  • The Influence of Literary Classics on My Writing
  • A Journey Through Shakespeare’s Works
  • The Role of Fiction in Shaping My Perspective
  • How I Fell in Love with Non-Fiction

Simple & Easy College Literacy Narrative Essay Examples

  • The Teacher Who Inspired My Love for Literature
  • The Adventures of Book Reports
  • Navigating Required Reading Lists
  • Writing Competitions and My Growth as a Writer
  • Learning to Write My Name
  • How I Overcame My Fear of Spelling Tests
  • The Impact of Creative Writing Workshops
  • Pen Pals and Cultural Exchange
  • The Evolution of My Handwriting
  • My First Day of School: A Memorable Literacy Experience

Interesting Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Writing and Composition

  • The Joys and Challenges of Journaling
  • Blogging: My Digital Writing Playground
  • The Power of Personal Essays
  • Writing Poetry: Expressing Emotions Through Words
  • Learning the Art of Persuasive Writing
  • Exploring the World of Scriptwriting
  • Crafting My First Short Story
  • Keeping a Travel Journal: Chronicles of My Adventures
  • The Impact of Grammar Lessons on My Writing Skills
  • My Journey as a Creative Writer

Languages and Communication Essay Topics For Middle School

  • The Influence of Slang on My Language Skills
  • The Art of Writing Love Letters
  • The Power of Public Speaking
  • Learning Sign Language: A Unique Literacy Experience
  • Multilingualism and Cultural Awareness
  • Mastering the Art of Translation
  • The Beauty of Calligraphy
  • Writing Codes and Ciphers
  • The Art of Texting: A Modern Form of Communication
  • Bilingual Journey: Becoming Proficient in Two Languages

Digital Literacy and Technology Literacy Narrative Essay Examples

  • The Impact of Social Media on My Writing
  • Creating Memes: The New Form of Expression
  • How I Became a Tech-Savvy Writer
  • The Art of Blogging: From Hobby to Profession
  • YouTube and the Rise of Vlogging
  • The World of Podcasting: Finding My Voice
  • Digital Storytelling: A New Age Literacy Skill
  • The Role of Online Forums in My Writing Journey
  • Gaming and the Power of Interactive Storytelling
  • My First Email: A Digital Literacy Milestone

Good Cultural Literacy Narrative Essay Examples

  • Folklore and Cultural Identity
  • Learning About Different Cultures Through Food
  • My Connection with My Heritage Through Writing
  • The Significance of Oral Traditions
  • Religious Texts: A Source of Moral Values
  • Exploring Subcultures Through Literature
  • Music Lyrics and Their Impact on My Life
  • Documenting Family History Through Writing
  • Travel Diaries: Connecting with New Cultures
  • The Stories My Grandparents Shared

Incredible Workplace and Professional Literacy Narrative Essay Examples

  • Writing Resumes and Cover Letters: A Career Skill
  • The Art of Business Proposals
  • Writing for Academic and Professional Journals
  • Legal Writing: A World of Precision
  • Medical Records and Healthcare Literacy
  • The World of Technical Writing
  • Creative Writing in Marketing and Advertising
  • The Art of Grant Proposal Writing
  • The Power of Persuasion in Sales and Marketing
  • The Impact of Business Communication Courses

Personal Challenges and Triumphs

  • From Reluctant Reader to Avid Bibliophile
  • Literacy and Coping with Personal Challenges
  • Self-Improvement Through Self-Help Books
  • Writing to Heal: My Journey Through Trauma
  • Learning a New Alphabet: Braille and Accessibility
  • Writing to Connect with Loved Ones
  • Finding My Voice Through Writing
  • Becoming a Literate Parent
  • Literacy and Self-Discovery: A Journey Within
  • Overcoming Dyslexia: My Literacy Triumph

Historical and Societal Literacy Narrative Essay Examples

  • Exploring Civil Rights through Literature
  • Gender and Women’s Writing: Shaping My Feminist Beliefs
  • The Power of Literature in Social Movements
  • Journalism and Its Impact on Society
  • The Role of Propaganda in Shaping Public Opinion
  • Writing During Times of Conflict and War
  • Understanding Societal Issues Through Literature
  • Literature in the Age of Enlightenment
  • The Power of Satire in Political Writing
  • The Influence of Historical Documents on My Perspective

Literacy Narrative Essay Examples For Hobbies and Special Interests

  • How Cooking Recipes Enhanced My Literacy
  • The World of Hobbyist Writing: Gardening Journals
  • From Comic Book Fan to Graphic Novel Author
  • The Magic of Game Rulebooks
  • Model Building Instruction Manuals: A Unique Literacy
  • Nature Writing: Connecting with the Environment
  • Hiking and Trail Guides: Navigating the Great Outdoors
  • DIY Crafting: A Literacy Journey in Creativity
  • Musical Composition and Lyric Writing
  • The Art of Tattoo Design and Symbolism

How To Write Literacy Narrative Essay

These are the following steps for How To Write Literacy Narrative Essay Examples.

  • Choose a Personal Literacy Theme
  • Set the Scene with a Compelling Introduction
  • Describe Key Literacy Experiences
  • Share Personal Insights and Emotions
  • Reflect on the Impact of Literacy
  • Organize Your Essay Coherently
  • Use Vivid Descriptive Language
  • Incorporate Dialogue and Anecdotes
  • Conclude with a Reflective Closing
  • Revise and Edit for Clarity and Flow

Literacy Narrative Essay Examples Pdf

These are the Literacy Narrative Essay Sample pdf.

So, these are the main Literacy Narrative Essay Examples for college and high school students. Your own experiences are unique and valuable abilities in literacy, and they have the power to inspire and connect with others. By crafting a compelling literacy narrative essay, you can not only share your personal growth but also inspire others to embrace the power of words. So, grab your pen, open your laptop, and start writing your own literacy narrative today. Your story is waiting to be shared with the world.

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How to Write a Literacy Narrative – Explained With Examples

A literacy narrative is a form of free writing that brings life experiences into account.

How to Write a Literacy Narrative (with Examples)

Piece of Advice

It is easy to write in difficult words, but difficult to write in easy words. ― Anonymous

A literacy narrative is a first-hand narrative about reading, writing, teaching, and composing in any form of context. It is a form of autobiographical writing such as an essay, which can help you learn and evaluate the role of literacy in your life. It can unravel your attitudes and abilities, along with how you have developed as a reader, writer, thinker, and communicator.

It can prompt you to explore and reminisce the choices, moments, experiences, or stages of your personal development. It will also help you realize your growth in terms of writing, reading, communicating, thinking, and even listening.

It allows you to be face to face with your life’s influential events, scenes, people, stages in your life, turning points, epiphanies, failures, successes, passages into new, different kinds of language, reading, writing, communication, and thinking. It can be sad, happy, remorseful, funny, informative, incidental, etc.

It could also be an account of your triumphs, when someone gave you a chance, or you lost chances, and life’s lessons that you learned or that were taught to you by people at the church, school, performances, presentations, etc.

Tips for Writing a Literacy Narrative

You need to remember that literacy narratives are theme-based and open-formed, and do not have a strict structure or thesis.

✑ Choose a topic that means something to you. You could write about personal challenges like overcoming difficulties, early memories of listening to a story or reading it, or simply write about your favorite book, poem, etc.

✑ Make a list of a few ideas that you would like to cover in your literacy narrative. These should be written in a sentence form. This is because a literacy narrative is not just about writing about your favorite literature, it is more personal than that. It is about realizing why you liked reading the literature, what attracted you to it, etc.

✑ Begin writing the first draft of your very first literacy narrative. Do not go astray from your topic; stay focused on the theme. If you are unsure about your theme, work on it simultaneously.

✑ Revise the draft and clear any mistakes that you’ve made.

✑ Use a lot of imagery as this will transform your audiences to your memory, allowing them to connect to you, your experiences, and events. This method is also known as reflecting.

✑ Describe everything well and use other sensory details, viz., smell, touch, and taste.

✑ Give a suitable title for the paper.

✑ Include some dialogs as this keeps the reader/listener captivated to the literature.

✑ Get a peer to review it.

✑ If required, reedit your literacy narrative with the help of your seniors, parents, teachers, etc.

✑ Give it another good read and you are done writing your literacy narrative.

Things to Remember

You will need to ask the following questions time and again while and after writing your narrative.

✑ What do I want to do? What do I want to convey?

✑ What were the crucial moments and details in the event?

✑ Does my literacy narrative have a title?

✑ Am I staying on the topic?

✑ Does this make sense to someone who doesn’t know anything about me or a literacy narrative?

✑ Describe the characters and settings well.

✑ Does it have an open-form structure?

✑ Is it generic or does it have some personal experiences?

✑ Have I used sufficient examples?

✑ Is it appropriate for my audience? As in, is the diction, tone, and language appropriate for the purpose of my literacy narrative? Is it too casual or too formal?

✑ Is it clear? Are the terminologies, examples, events, etc., understandable?

An Example of a Literacy Narrative

Power of a prayer.

One winter, when I was eight years old, my father and I had taken a ride to aunt Sally’s house. Halfway back home, the car began to wobble and slow down. Dad realized that the car had a flat tire. To make things worse, we were stranded in the middle of a snowstorm. I could hear the helplessness in my dad’s voice as he said, “We could sure use a Christmas miracle right about now.” I remember how much I detested that old red car, mainly because the radio didn’t work. Nothing really worked in that car, but luckily, dad got his miracle! The heater suddenly sprung into action and we were quiet thankful that we didn’t freeze to death. We waited there in the middle of nowhere for someone to come along and help us out.

The cold wind started blowing in through the little gap in the door frame and the window. It whistled and moaned and scared me half to death. The breeze that blew in was pricking my nose and cheeks. I could smell the pine tree in the air; given the fact that we had one tied to the roof, Christmas was just a few days away. Dad and I both began search for some way to clog that thin gap to keep the cold out. As I reached into my jacket pocket, I realized there was a piece of folded paper in it. I pulled it out, only to realize that it was the lyrics of the carol, Hallelujah. I was overcome with the sudden burst of the singing spell, and I began to sing it. Dad too pitched in now and then. By the time I sang Hallelujah after the second verse, the cold winds had stopped. As we sang, “… and every breath we drew was hallelujah”, we heard a familiar honk coming from behind us. And what do you know, it was my Uncle Mitch coming our way with help!

Topics for a Literacy Narrative

✑ What is your earliest memory of learning to read or write?

✑ Which story or book was significant to you in your adolescent life?

✑ Who taught you to write?

✑ How did your attitude towards reading and writing develop?

✑ The first time I wrote a letter/love letter/poem/novel.

✑ The time I won or lost a crucial debate.

✑ The time I forgot my lines in a play.

✑ The first time you wrote something on your own.

✑ My favorite bedtime story as a child.

✑ The time I felt like an illiterate.

✑ The time I won a prize for reading/writing.

✑ The time I got my first computer/Facebook account/e-mail account, etc.

✑ The first time I recited holy scriptures at the church/temple/or at my Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Remember this little piece of advice―you can write anything using a complex and difficult language. But, the point behind your writing will not be achieved if the listener/reader of your work is unable to comprehend it. Keep your language clear, plain, and simple as this will help your message to be understood easily.

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Literacy narrative resources, example literacy narratives.

  • Rhetorical Analysis
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  • Literacy Narrative Explained From CUNY Academic Commons, learn more about literacy narratives with examples.
  • Literacy Narratives From the UNC Charlotte The Writing Resources Corner, this resource provides information on what literacy narratives are and how to write one.
  • Purdue OWL: Narrative Essays When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.
  • Narrative Essay Narration is a rhetorical style that basically just tells a story. Being able to convey events in a clear, descriptive, chronological order is important in many fields. Many times, in college, your professors will ask you to write paragraphs or entire essays using a narrative style.
  • Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives An open public resource made up of stories from people just like you about their experiences learning to read, write, and generally communicate with the world around them.
  • HERS by Perri Klass
  • "Literacy Narrative" by Kiki Petrosino
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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examples of literacy essays

How to Write a Literacy Narrative Essay Examples, Topics

If you need topics, examples, and an extensive step-by-step on writing a stellar literary narrative essay, then don’t waste your time and effort trying to look for a better guide because we’ve taken it upon ourselves to gather all the information you’ll need to know to achieve that.

In this article we will go through the basics, guide you through every step of the process, and provide you with topics and literacy narrative essay 2024 examples. We recommend not skipping anything. Read through the whole thing, and you’ll be sure to know the ins and outs at the end.

Finally, it’s time to finish the brain fog and confusion that surrounds this topic. But, writing can be tough for some. Well, did you know that you can hire a professional writer from our narrative essay writing service to handle some writing tasks for you? Now, you do. Get in touch with them ASAP by clicking that link.

In the quest to express personal journeys with literacy through a narrative essay, high school seniors are also stepping closer to a significant milestone - transitioning to higher education. This transition, however exciting, brings along a financial consideration that cannot be overlooked. As you delve into what is a narrative essay about your literacy narrative, exploring your relationship with reading and writing, it's also an opportune time to explore scholarships that can support your academic endeavors ahead.

A Few Things To Consider

We will teach you how to write a literacy narrative essay. We will be going in-depth and learning all the relevant details there are to know. Moreover, we’ll explore narrative essay topics. Even as a beginner, with just the right amount of practice and research, you can write up an excellent paper. 

This type of essay has a lot of elements that need to be included and to be taken into consideration, so to craft a well-rounded work that includes all these elements, we first need to know what we’re going to have to include in our writing.

Overview: What Is a Literacy Narrative Essay? 

So, what is a literacy narrative essay? This type of essay is an essay where the writer tells about their experiences in writing and reading. It’s meta. You can typically read about the writer’s sources of inspiration for their literacy, such as books, amongst other things. 

The content and experiences one can read from this type of essay are pretty broad since everyone experiences something different from the other. The goal of this essay is to examine the importance of literacy in one’s own experience, how it’s shaped them, and sometimes it serves as a lesson to those who read it. 

examples of literacy essays

What to Include in a Literacy Narrative Essay

examples of literacy essays

Firstly, let’s establish some basics, just like any other essay, this one will need to include: 

  • An introductory paragraph with a hook and a thesis. 
  • Body paragraphs to extrapolate on the points made in the introduction.
  • A concluding paragraph to sum it all up.

And since this type of essay is about sharing an anecdote and trying to convey a lesson/message through one’s own experiences and realizations, it’s important not to write in a rigid and overly formal manner. 

A personal literacy narrative essay example would typically feature:

  • A personal tone of voice since the main goal is to write about an anecdote related to literacy.
  • A literacy narrative example essay will, of course, include personal stories.
  • Dialogue and monologue if context-appropriate.
  • Visual and colorful language.
  • Literary tools such as metaphors and similes help the descriptive elements of this essay.
  • Use of active verbs.

Go through these bullet points and try to remember them. Obviously, by including all of them in your writing, you have more chances of getting a higher score on what you turn in. Stick around for college literacy narrative essay examples and narrative essay outline guides. 

Outline Example 

examples of literacy essays

If you want to know how to write a literacy narrative essay, here’s an outline example of what you can write in your introduction to your concluding paragraph. 

  • Introduce the main issue/problem: in the introduction, highlight the issue you want to provide an answer to. This will typically revolve around being illiterate or the importance of literacy. 
  • Give a solution: through sharing your own experiences, you can give a solution by sharing the realizations and lessons you’ve learned through these said experiences.
  • Give further advice: write how your readers can explicitly apply the advice you gave for their problems. Help them understand how to use this knowledge. 
  • Sum up: conclude the most relevant points you made to persuade your readers to care about the problem and consider your advice.

Literacy Narrative Essay Sample

Key differences between literacy narrative & narrative essay.

Don’t confuse a literacy narrative prompt with a narrative prompt. These two essays are very similar, but they’re not the same. Key differences are:

  • A literacy narrative essay is strictly an essay that showcases a story/anecdote of how this person became literate. No matter how different the story may be from one person to another, it always revolves around this. 
  • A narrative essay can be any story. It can be anecdotal, personal, etc. A narrative essay’s purpose is to show the readers that the writer knows how to use storytelling techniques.

Tips On Writing 

examples of literacy essays

Now that you’ve looked at one of our college literacy narrative essay examples, it’s time to finish it off by reading our tips on writing. You’ve been taught the fundamentals and have seen a reference, and our tips will help your writing get better. 

Prepare and Find Sources

Be sure to do a proper amount of research. Try to find credible sources. Colleges usually don’t accept anything less. For example, scholarly articles and peer-reviewed works can be used. Gather these sources and filter through them. Now you can move on to your college literacy narrative essay outline and then write your college literacy narrative essay.

Also, note that literacy narratives discuss memories from time to time. So your personal experiences can be just as good of a source, provided the topic is fitting. Don’t be scared to add some flare to your literacy story. Take your audience on a rough and exciting journey. Your personal literacy story has the advantage of being written not just in your own unique style but also from your own unique perspective.

Shape your own story from a hilarious and witty ride you’ve had with your friends, talk about your bully, remember some of your own love stories, and let your vast imagination free. That’s what a literacy narrative takes. And don’t worry about carefully planned words. That’s not how reading or writing a personal essay works. Your entire journey is about personal exploration. With their creative juices flowing, college students can utilize only a few sentences of written words to hit the spot. Even the wrong way will get you somewhere on this literacy journey. So make it a personalized story.

One thing that can become a serious challenge is writer’s block. Simply sitting staring at a blank page can have disastrous consequences for your productivity. If you find yourself stumped for words - look for literacy narrative examples to get you inspired. Read about the writing life of your favorite author.

If you’re having trouble finding good sources, then don’t hesitate to get a writer’s help on EssayService, but you can also just extend your research by getting leads from your professor or your coursemates. They should know some useful links that can help you. 

Take Notes On Relevant Information 

Filter through your sources and note down relevant information in bite-sized chunks. The brain is better at remembering small blocks of information than it is at painstakingly long paragraphs. Do yourself a favor and segment your notes in this fashion - it will help you remember things much more easily. 

You can also use colored notes to streamline this process, and for some students, memorizing becomes even easier this way, but this is optional. Just remember to take down notes on what matters and use these in your college literacy narrative essay outline. 

Time To Write It 

After researching, figuring out your outline, etc. - it’s to write it all down. We hope you didn’t skip any of our prior tips since they truly do help the bigger picture. Use your notes and your research as a reference when writing. Don’t be scared to come back to them when writing, especially if you feel stuck. That’s what they are there for. 

Read the literacy narrative essay sample we’ve provided above if you need inspiration or fresh ideas, or if you just want to grasp the concept of this type of essay. But don’t forget to use your own experiences, and not just that of someone else’s; otherwise, the whole purpose of it is defeated. 

Write a rough draft if you need to, then polish it in the final version. Rough drafts are a great way to keep writing without overthinking since you know that you’ll easily erase the mistakes you’ll be making in the process. Don’t overthink. Just write. 

Proofread And Edit Your Essay

Lastly, it’s time to proofread it for any errors in your writing and edit if needed. A perfect paper can sometimes be unattainable, but perhaps you’ll get a perfect score by being meticulous. Don’t forget to reread our free literacy narrative essay sample above and some more free samples at EssayService to help you with learning. 

In case you want your writing to be perfect, ask your peer to proofread your paper for you instead of doing it yourself. Or you can proofread it and then let another person do the same a second time. Two are better than one sometimes, and one more person can detect errors you might have overlooked.

Literacy Narrative Essay Topics 

The good thing about this type of essay is that there should be no shortage of ideas or topics to write about since the majority of us in school have had experiences of coming into literacy one way or another. 

People might have become literate much faster than some, but unless you’re completely illiterate, you should remember one thing or two from the past that can be used for your essay. 

Here are some prompts for your memory and general narrative essay topics/ideas for topics:

  • The First Thing I Read
  • The First Thing I Wrote
  • Languages I Learnt
  • How to Encourage Early Reading Skills
  • Computer Literacy Among Teachers
  • The Role of Public Libraries in Modern Education
  • What Do Low Literacy Rates Imply?
  • How Important Is Computer Literacy?
  • The Impact of Instant Messengers on Literacy
  • Cultural Impact of Online Communication
  • Factors Affecting Literacy Rates
  • Balanced Literacy Teaching Methods
  • Literacy and Cultural Awareness
  • Phonemic Awareness and Child Literacy
  • The Role of Literacy in Research
  • The Cornerstone of Early Literacy
  • Literacy History Throughout Ages
  • Defining Literacy Concept
  • An Early Literacy Intervention
  • Today’s Problems of Literacy

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Humanities LibreTexts

12.14: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

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  • Page ID 40514

  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

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The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

While reading these examples, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the essay's thesis statement, and how do you know it is the thesis statement?
  • What is the main idea or topic sentence of each body paragraph, and how does it relate back to the thesis statement?
  • Where and how does each essay use evidence (quotes or paraphrase from the literature)?
  • What are some of the literary devices or structures the essays analyze or discuss?
  • How does each author structure their conclusion, and how does their conclusion differ from their introduction?

Example 1: Poetry

Victoria Morillo

Instructor Heather Ringo

3 August 2022

How Nguyen’s Structure Solidifies the Impact of Sexual Violence in “The Study”

Stripped of innocence, your body taken from you. No matter how much you try to block out the instance in which these two things occurred, memories surface and come back to haunt you. How does a person, a young boy , cope with an event that forever changes his life? Hieu Minh Nguyen deconstructs this very way in which an act of sexual violence affects a survivor. In his poem, “The Study,” the poem's speaker recounts the year in which his molestation took place, describing how his memory filters in and out. Throughout the poem, Nguyen writes in free verse, permitting a structural liberation to become the foundation for his message to shine through. While he moves the readers with this poignant narrative, Nguyen effectively conveys the resulting internal struggles of feeling alone and unseen.

The speaker recalls his experience with such painful memory through the use of specific punctuation choices. Just by looking at the poem, we see that the first period doesn’t appear until line 14. It finally comes after the speaker reveals to his readers the possible, central purpose for writing this poem: the speaker's molestation. In the first half, the poem makes use of commas, em dashes, and colons, which lends itself to the idea of the speaker stringing along all of these details to make sense of this time in his life. If reading the poem following the conventions of punctuation, a sense of urgency is present here, as well. This is exemplified by the lack of periods to finalize a thought; and instead, Nguyen uses other punctuation marks to connect them. Serving as another connector of thoughts, the two em dashes give emphasis to the role memory plays when the speaker discusses how “no one [had] a face” during that time (Nguyen 9-11). He speaks in this urgent manner until the 14th line, and when he finally gets it off his chest, the pace of the poem changes, as does the more frequent use of the period. This stream-of-consciousness-like section when juxtaposed with the latter half of the poem, causes readers to slow down and pay attention to the details. It also splits the poem in two: a section that talks of the fogginess of memory then transitions into one that remembers it all.

In tandem with the fluctuating nature of memory, the utilization of line breaks and word choice help reflect the damage the molestation has had. Within the first couple of lines of the poem, the poem demands the readers’ attention when the line breaks from “floating” to “dead” as the speaker describes his memory of Little Billy (Nguyen 1-4). This line break averts the readers’ expectation of the direction of the narrative and immediately shifts the tone of the poem. The break also speaks to the effect his trauma has ingrained in him and how “[f]or the longest time,” his only memory of that year revolves around an image of a boy’s death. In a way, the speaker sees himself in Little Billy; or perhaps, he’s representative of the tragic death of his boyhood, how the speaker felt so “dead” after enduring such a traumatic experience, even referring to himself as a “ghost” that he tries to evict from his conscience (Nguyen 24). The feeling that a part of him has died is solidified at the very end of the poem when the speaker describes himself as a nine-year-old boy who’s been “fossilized,” forever changed by this act (Nguyen 29). By choosing words associated with permanence and death, the speaker tries to recreate the atmosphere (for which he felt trapped in) in order for readers to understand the loneliness that came as a result of his trauma. With the assistance of line breaks, more attention is drawn to the speaker's words, intensifying their importance, and demanding to be felt by the readers.

Most importantly, the speaker expresses eloquently, and so heartbreakingly, about the effect sexual violence has on a person. Perhaps what seems to be the most frustrating are the people who fail to believe survivors of these types of crimes. This is evident when he describes “how angry” the tenants were when they filled the pool with cement (Nguyen 4). They seem to represent how people in the speaker's life were dismissive of his assault and who viewed his tragedy as a nuisance of some sorts. This sentiment is bookended when he says, “They say, give us details , so I give them my body. / They say, give us proof , so I give them my body,” (Nguyen 25-26). The repetition of these two lines reinforces the feeling many feel in these scenarios, as they’re often left to deal with trying to make people believe them, or to even see them.

It’s important to recognize how the structure of this poem gives the speaker space to express the pain he’s had to carry for so long. As a characteristic of free verse, the poem doesn’t follow any structured rhyme scheme or meter; which in turn, allows him to not have any constraints in telling his story the way he wants to. The speaker has the freedom to display his experience in a way that evades predictability and engenders authenticity of a story very personal to him. As readers, we abandon anticipating the next rhyme, and instead focus our attention to the other ways, like his punctuation or word choice, in which he effectively tells his story. The speaker recognizes that some part of him no longer belongs to himself, but by writing “The Study,” he shows other survivors that they’re not alone and encourages hope that eventually, they will be freed from the shackles of sexual violence.

Works Cited

Nguyen, Hieu Minh. “The Study” Poets.Org. Academy of American Poets, Coffee House Press, 2018, https://poets.org/poem/study-0 .

Example 2: Fiction

Todd Goodwin

Professor Stan Matyshak

Advanced Expository Writing

Sept. 17, 20—

Poe’s “Usher”: A Mirror of the Fall of the House of Humanity

Right from the outset of the grim story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allan Poe enmeshes us in a dark, gloomy, hopeless world, alienating his characters and the reader from any sort of physical or psychological norm where such values as hope and happiness could possibly exist. He fatalistically tells the story of how a man (the narrator) comes from the outside world of hope, religion, and everyday society and tries to bring some kind of redeeming happiness to his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, who not only has physically and psychologically wasted away but is entrapped in a dilapidated house of ever-looming terror with an emaciated and deranged twin sister. Roderick Usher embodies the wasting away of what once was vibrant and alive, and his house of “insufferable gloom” (273), which contains his morbid sister, seems to mirror or reflect this fear of death and annihilation that he most horribly endures. A close reading of the story reveals that Poe uses mirror images, or reflections, to contribute to the fatalistic theme of “Usher”: each reflection serves to intensify an already prevalent tone of hopelessness, darkness, and fatalism.

It could be argued that the house of Roderick Usher is a “house of mirrors,” whose unpleasant and grim reflections create a dark and hopeless setting. For example, the narrator first approaches “the melancholy house of Usher on a dark and soundless day,” and finds a building which causes him a “sense of insufferable gloom,” which “pervades his spirit and causes an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an undiscerned dreariness of thought” (273). The narrator then optimistically states: “I reflected that a mere different arrangement of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression” (274). But the narrator then sees the reflection of the house in the tarn and experiences a “shudder even more thrilling than before” (274). Thus the reader begins to realize that the narrator cannot change or stop the impending doom that will befall the house of Usher, and maybe humanity. The story cleverly plays with the word reflection : the narrator sees a physical reflection that leads him to a mental reflection about Usher’s surroundings.

The narrator’s disillusionment by such grim reflection continues in the story. For example, he describes Roderick Usher’s face as distinct with signs of old strength but lost vigor: the remains of what used to be. He describes the house as a once happy and vibrant place, which, like Roderick, lost its vitality. Also, the narrator describes Usher’s hair as growing wild on his rather obtrusive head, which directly mirrors the eerie moss and straw covering the outside of the house. The narrator continually longs to see these bleak reflections as a dream, for he states: “Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building” (276). He does not want to face the reality that Usher and his home are doomed to fall, regardless of what he does.

Although there are almost countless examples of these mirror images, two others stand out as important. First, Roderick and his sister, Madeline, are twins. The narrator aptly states just as he and Roderick are entombing Madeline that there is “a striking similitude between brother and sister” (288). Indeed, they are mirror images of each other. Madeline is fading away psychologically and physically, and Roderick is not too far behind! The reflection of “doom” that these two share helps intensify and symbolize the hopelessness of the entire situation; thus, they further develop the fatalistic theme. Second, in the climactic scene where Madeline has been mistakenly entombed alive, there is a pairing of images and sounds as the narrator tries to calm Roderick by reading him a romance story. Events in the story simultaneously unfold with events of the sister escaping her tomb. In the story, the hero breaks out of the coffin. Then, in the story, the dragon’s shriek as he is slain parallels Madeline’s shriek. Finally, the story tells of the clangor of a shield, matched by the sister’s clanging along a metal passageway. As the suspense reaches its climax, Roderick shrieks his last words to his “friend,” the narrator: “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door” (296).

Roderick, who slowly falls into insanity, ironically calls the narrator the “Madman.” We are left to reflect on what Poe means by this ironic twist. Poe’s bleak and dark imagery, and his use of mirror reflections, seem only to intensify the hopelessness of “Usher.” We can plausibly conclude that, indeed, the narrator is the “Madman,” for he comes from everyday society, which is a place where hope and faith exist. Poe would probably argue that such a place is opposite to the world of Usher because a world where death is inevitable could not possibly hold such positive values. Therefore, just as Roderick mirrors his sister, the reflection in the tarn mirrors the dilapidation of the house, and the story mirrors the final actions before the death of Usher. “The Fall of the House of Usher” reflects Poe’s view that humanity is hopelessly doomed.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” 1839. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library . 1995. Web. 1 July 2012. < http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/PoeFall.html >.

Example 3: Poetry

Amy Chisnell

Professor Laura Neary

Writing and Literature

April 17, 20—

Don’t Listen to the Egg!: A Close Reading of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

“You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,” said Alice. “Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called ‘Jabberwocky’?”

“Let’s hear it,” said Humpty Dumpty. “I can explain all the poems that ever were invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented just yet.” (Carroll 164)

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass , Humpty Dumpty confidently translates (to a not so confident Alice) the complicated language of the poem “Jabberwocky.” The words of the poem, though nonsense, aptly tell the story of the slaying of the Jabberwock. Upon finding “Jabberwocky” on a table in the looking-glass room, Alice is confused by the strange words. She is quite certain that “ somebody killed something ,” but she does not understand much more than that. When later she encounters Humpty Dumpty, she seizes the opportunity at having the knowledgeable egg interpret—or translate—the poem. Since Humpty Dumpty professes to be able to “make a word work” for him, he is quick to agree. Thus he acts like a New Critic who interprets the poem by performing a close reading of it. Through Humpty’s interpretation of the first stanza, however, we see the poem’s deeper comment concerning the practice of interpreting poetry and literature in general—that strict analytical translation destroys the beauty of a poem. In fact, Humpty Dumpty commits the “heresy of paraphrase,” for he fails to understand that meaning cannot be separated from the form or structure of the literary work.

Of the 71 words found in “Jabberwocky,” 43 have no known meaning. They are simply nonsense. Yet through this nonsensical language, the poem manages not only to tell a story but also gives the reader a sense of setting and characterization. One feels, rather than concretely knows, that the setting is dark, wooded, and frightening. The characters, such as the Jubjub bird, the Bandersnatch, and the doomed Jabberwock, also appear in the reader’s head, even though they will not be found in the local zoo. Even though most of the words are not real, the reader is able to understand what goes on because he or she is given free license to imagine what the words denote and connote. Simply, the poem’s nonsense words are the meaning.

Therefore, when Humpty interprets “Jabberwocky” for Alice, he is not doing her any favors, for he actually misreads the poem. Although the poem in its original is constructed from nonsense words, by the time Humpty is done interpreting it, it truly does not make any sense. The first stanza of the original poem is as follows:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

An the mome raths outgrabe. (Carroll 164)

If we replace, however, the nonsense words of “Jabberwocky” with Humpty’s translated words, the effect would be something like this:

’Twas four o’clock in the afternoon, and the lithe and slimy badger-lizard-corkscrew creatures

Did go round and round and make holes in the grass-plot round the sun-dial:

All flimsy and miserable were the shabby-looking birds

with mop feathers,

And the lost green pigs bellowed-sneezed-whistled.

By translating the poem in such a way, Humpty removes the charm or essence—and the beauty, grace, and rhythm—from the poem. The poetry is sacrificed for meaning. Humpty Dumpty commits the heresy of paraphrase. As Cleanth Brooks argues, “The structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations” (203). When the poem is left as nonsense, the reader can easily imagine what a “slithy tove” might be, but when Humpty tells us what it is, he takes that imaginative license away from the reader. The beauty (if that is the proper word) of “Jabberwocky” is in not knowing what the words mean, and yet understanding. By translating the poem, Humpty takes that privilege from the reader. In addition, Humpty fails to recognize that meaning cannot be separated from the structure itself: the nonsense poem reflects this literally—it means “nothing” and achieves this meaning by using “nonsense” words.

Furthermore, the nonsense words Carroll chooses to use in “Jabberwocky” have a magical effect upon the reader; the shadowy sound of the words create the atmosphere, which may be described as a trance-like mood. When Alice first reads the poem, she says it seems to fill her head “with ideas.” The strange-sounding words in the original poem do give one ideas. Why is this? Even though the reader has never heard these words before, he or she is instantly aware of the murky, mysterious mood they set. In other words, diction operates not on the denotative level (the dictionary meaning) but on the connotative level (the emotion(s) they evoke). Thus “Jabberwocky” creates a shadowy mood, and the nonsense words are instrumental in creating this mood. Carroll could not have simply used any nonsense words.

For example, let us change the “dark,” “ominous” words of the first stanza to “lighter,” more “comic” words:

’Twas mearly, and the churly pells

Did bimble and ringle in the tink;

All timpy were the brimbledimps,

And the bip plips outlink.

Shifting the sounds of the words from dark to light merely takes a shift in thought. To create a specific mood using nonsense words, one must create new words from old words that convey the desired mood. In “Jabberwocky,” Carroll mixes “slimy,” a grim idea, “lithe,” a pliable image, to get a new adjective: “slithy” (a portmanteau word). In this translation, brighter words were used to get a lighter effect. “Mearly” is a combination of “morning” and “early,” and “ringle” is a blend of “ring” and "dingle.” The point is that “Jabberwocky’s” nonsense words are created specifically to convey this shadowy or mysterious mood and are integral to the “meaning.”

Consequently, Humpty’s rendering of the poem leaves the reader with a completely different feeling than does the original poem, which provided us with a sense of ethereal mystery, of a dark and foreign land with exotic creatures and fantastic settings. The mysteriousness is destroyed by Humpty’s literal paraphrase of the creatures and the setting; by doing so, he has taken the beauty away from the poem in his attempt to understand it. He has committed the heresy of paraphrase: “If we allow ourselves to be misled by it [this heresy], we distort the relation of the poem to its ‘truth’… we split the poem between its ‘form’ and its ‘content’” (Brooks 201). Humpty Dumpty’s ultimate demise might be seen to symbolize the heretical split between form and content: as a literary creation, Humpty Dumpty is an egg, a well-wrought urn of nonsense. His fall from the wall cracks him and separates the contents from the container, and not even all the King’s men can put the scrambled egg back together again!

Through the odd characters of a little girl and a foolish egg, “Jabberwocky” suggests a bit of sage advice about reading poetry, advice that the New Critics built their theories on. The importance lies not solely within strict analytical translation or interpretation, but in the overall effect of the imagery and word choice that evokes a meaning inseparable from those literary devices. As Archibald MacLeish so aptly writes: “A poem should not mean / But be.” Sometimes it takes a little nonsense to show us the sense in something.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry . 1942. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1956. Print.

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass. Alice in Wonderland . 2nd ed. Ed. Donald J. Gray. New York: Norton, 1992. Print.

MacLeish, Archibald. “Ars Poetica.” The Oxford Book of American Poetry . Ed. David Lehman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 385–86. Print.


  • Sample Essay 1 received permission from Victoria Morillo to publish, licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International ( CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
  • Sample Essays 2 and 3 adapted from Cordell, Ryan and John Pennington. "2.5: Student Sample Papers" from Creating Literary Analysis. 2012. Licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported ( CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 )

photo of student typing on a typewriter outside

Writing Program at New College

Assignments - literacy narrative (1000 - 1500 words).

A Literacy Narrative is a type of autobiographical essay –“The Art of Eating Spaghetti,” for example – that focuses on personal experiences with literacy (speaking, writing, reading, and the like) in order to confirm the importance of these rhetorical experiences in a person’s life.

Begin by recalling a rhetorical moment from your life. Think back and reflect on significant situations that helped develop you as a reader and/or writer. Think about who helped you learn about and/or appreciate reading and writing. Think about particular experiences that effected how you thought about reading and writing.

Finding your Focus

Above all, try to recall a moment in your life when speaking, reading, writing, and the like had a big impact on your life. Answer the following questions to get you thinking:

  • What is your earliest memory of reading and writing?
  • How did you learn to read and write? Did you ever teach anyone else to read or write?
  • Who encouraged you to read and write?
  • What events interrupted and/or slowed down your ability and/or desire to read and write?
  • Did you apply literacy skills to other content areas: sports, music, video games, etc.?
  • What kinds of reading have you done in your past and what kinds of reading to you do now?
  • What teachers had a particular impact on your reading and writing?
  • What assignments had a particular impact on your reading and writing?
  • Have different schools or other institutions had an impact on your reading and writing?
  • How do you currently feel about reading and writing?
  • What rewards have come from reading and writing?
  • Did a special or important event from your past make you the reader and/or writer you are today?
  • Was there a moment or moments that were especially empowering?
  • Did you ever read a book or poem or song that made sense to you beyond the words on the page?

Organizing your Ideas

Discuss these questions with members of the class, and then post responses to at least seven (7) of the questions to Blackboard. The completion of this WTL assignment will provide you with more information about what to pursue for the writing assignment. As you look over this profile of your writing history, consider what “argument” or “so what” point will guide your literacy narrative. For example, you may learn that while you failed or did poorly on a certain assignment, this grade motivated you to work more diligently on your writing skills.

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Literary analysis: sample essay.

We turn once more to Joanna Wolfe’s and Laura Wilder’s  Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Writing, and Analysis  (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016) in order to show you their example of a strong student essay that has a strong central claim elucidated by multiple surface/depth arguments supported by patterns of evidence.

Paragraph 1

Sylvia Plath’s short poem “Morning Song” explores the conflicted emotions of a new mother. On the one hand, the mother recognizes that she is expected to treasure and celebrate her infant, but on the other hand, she feels strangely removed from the child. The poem uses a combination of scientific and natural imagery to illustrate the mother’s feelings of alienation. By the end of the poem, however, we see a shift in this imagery as the mother begins to see the infant in more human terms.

Paragraph 2

There are several references to scientific imagery in “Morning Song” that suggest that mother is viewing the baby in clinical, scientific terms rather than as a new life. The poem refers to magnification (4) and reflection (8), both of which are scientific methods. The word “distills” (8) refers to a scientific, chemical process for removing impurities from a substance. The baby’s cry is described as taking “its place among the elements” (3), which seems to refer to the periodic table of elements, the primordial matter of the universe. The watch in the first line is similarly a scientific tool and the gold the watch is made of is, of course, an element, like the baby’s cry. Even the balloons in the last line have a scientific connotation since balloons are often used for measurements and experiments in science. These images all serve to show how the speaker feels distanced from the baby, who is like a scientific experiment she is conducting rather than a human being.

Paragraph 3

Natural imagery also seems to further dehumanize the baby, reducing it to nothing more than its mouth. The baby’s breathing is compared to a moth in line 10, suggesting that the speaker feels the infant is fragile and is as likely to die as a moth dancing around candlelight. A few lines later, the baby’s mouth is compared to another animal—a cat—who greedily opens its mouth for milk. Not only does the speaker seem to feel that the baby is like an animal, but she herself is turned into an animal, as she arises “cow-heavy” (13) to feed the infant. These images show how the speaker sees both the baby and herself as dumb animals who exist only to feed and be fed. Even the morning itself seems to be reduced to another mouth to feed as she describes how the dawn “swallows its dull stars” (16). These lines suggest that just as the sun swallows up the stars, so the baby will swallow up this mother.

Paragraph 4

However, in the last few lines the poem takes a hopeful turn as the speaker begins to view the baby as a human being. The baby’s mouth, which has previously been greedy and animal-like, now becomes a source of music, producing a “handful of notes” (17) and “clear vowels” (18). Music is a distinctly human sound. No animals and certainly not the cats, cows, or moths mentioned earlier in the poem, make music. This change in how the speaker perceives the baby’s sounds—from animalistic cry to human song—suggest that she is beginning to relate the baby as an individual. Even the word “handful” in the phrase “handful of notes” (17) seems hopeful in this context since this is the first time the mother has referred to the baby as having a distinctly human body part. When the baby’s notes finally “rise like balloons” (18), the speaker seems to have arrived at a place where she can celebrate the infant. For the first time, the infant is giving something to the speaker rather than threatening to take something away. The mother seems to have finally accepted the child as an independent human being whose company she can celebrate.

Works Cited

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Literacy Narrative: My Development in Reading and Writing

  • Categories: Literacy Personal Beliefs Personal Experience

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Words: 1015 |

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 1015 | Pages: 2 | 6 min read

Works Cited

  • Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2007). Reading for information in elementary school: Content literacy strategies to build comprehension. Prentice Hall.
  • Graham, S., & Hebert, M. (2011). Writing to read: Evidence for how writing can improve reading. Carnegie Corporation of New York.
  • Nagy, W., & Anderson, R. C. (1984). The number of words in printed school English. Reading Research Quarterly, 19(3), 304-330.
  • National Council of Teachers of English. (2018). Writing as a tool for learning. Retrieved from https://www2.ncte.org/resources/positions/writing-as-a-tool-for-learning/
  • Pappas, C. C. (2014). Literacy narratives and the teacher education classroom: Exploring the potential for transformative learning. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 10(1), 44-61.
  • Powell, J. (2018). An Introduction to Education Studies. Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Rappleye, J. (2017). Essential study skills. Cengage Learning.
  • The International Literacy Association. (2019). The power of literacy. Retrieved from https://www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/resource-documents/2019-ila-power-of-literacy.pdf?sfvrsn=9da89fc2_2
  • The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Wilkinson, L. (2018). The essentials of academic writing. Sage Publications Ltd.

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examples of literacy essays

examples of literacy essays

10 Literary Analysis Essay Examples

To write a literary analysis essay always understand the assignment thoroughly and identify the key elements e.g. plot, characters, and themes. Select a central theme to focus on and put together evidence to support your analysis.

Fredrick Eghosa

Fredrick Eghosa

May 20, 2024

10 Literary Analysis Essay Examples

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

How to structure a literary analysis essay, the introduction, start with an attention-grabbing hook:, provide context and background information., explain the significance of the work:, include your thesis statement., preview your main points:, body paragraphs, always start with a topic sentence:, provide textual evidence., identify and analyze the literary devices:, link back to the thesis statement:, use transitions:, restate your thesis statement:, summarize key points:, emphasize the importance of your analysis:, avoid introducing new information:, example conclusion:, how to write a literary analysis essay with a co-writer, analyze the assignment thoroughly., engage in active reading:, identify key elements, analyze narrative techniques, choose a theme to focus on using cowriter, identify potential themes in the literary work:, evaluate the significance and depth of the themes in the work:, tap into personal interest and interpretation:, examples of themes:, collect and interpret the evidence., write a thesis statement, develop your argument, refer back to your thesis statement, organize your essay structure, support your argument with evidence, use cowriter to write a rough draft., refine and review your essay, types of literary analysis essay, close reading analysis, character analysis, thematic analysis, comparative analysis, symbolism and allegory analysis, historical or cultural analysis, narrative or structural analysis, literary analysis essay examples pdf free download, wrapping up.

Fredrick Eghosa

  • A literary analysis essay extensively evaluates specific aspects of a literary work or the work as a whole and thoroughly examines elements such as character development, plot intricacies, and setting.
  • A literary analysis essay follows the structure of a typical academic essay, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • To write a literary analysis essay, begin by thoroughly understanding your assignment and analyzing the chosen literary work. Identify critical elements in the literary work, such as plot, characters, and themes. Choose a central theme to focus on and gather evidence to support your analysis. Craft a strong thesis statement and develop a coherent argument. Proceed to write your essay and edit it to ensure it's error-free.
  • You can use CoWriter to streamline and improve the writing process.
  • There are different types of literary analysis essays, such as:
  • Author's name
  • Title of the work
  • Any relevant context (historical, cultural, or biographical).
  • For every theme you state and intend to explore, you must present specific quotes, passages, or scenes from the literary work(s) to support your argument.
  • Explain how the textual evidence supports your argument and contributes to the thematic analysis.
  • Reflect on your reading and note any recurring ideas, emotions, or messages the text conveys.
  • Consider broader concepts explored in the work, such as love, power, identity, justice, freedom, or morality.
  • Analyze characters' motivations and conflicts to uncover underlying thematic concerns.
  • Choose a theme central to the narrative that plays a substantial role in shaping the characters or plot.
  • Select a theme that allows for in-depth analysis and invites multiple interpretations. Avoid overly simplistic or superficial themes.
  • Choose a theme that resonates with you or sparks curiosity. When you are genuinely interested in the theme, you can conduct thorough research and develop a compelling essay.

notion image

  • Start by choosing specific quotes that are relevant to your analysis. Look for passages that contain vivid language, symbolism, or thematic significance.
  • Pay attention to descriptive details, imagery, and figurative language used by the author to convey thematic messages.
  • Proceed by providing the context for each quote to explain its significance within the narrative. Consider the surrounding events or character actions that give meaning to the quoted passage.
  • Analyze and note how literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbolism, foreshadowing) contribute to the thematic development in the quoted passages.
  • Clearly state the connection between the selected evidence and your broader argument about the text.
  • Acknowledge contradictory viewpoints and explain why your interpretation is more compelling or supported by the text.
  • Group related pieces of evidence together based on thematic connections or arguments in your essay outline.

notion image

  • Create a clear outline that outlines the main points and supporting evidence you will present in your essay. Organize your ideas logically to build a coherent argument.
  • Create an outline and decide where each piece of evidence fits within your overarching argument. At this stage, you may need more supporting points.
  • Use specific quotes, passages, or examples from the literary work(s) to support your interpretations and claims.
  • After presenting evidence, analyze how it relates to your argument and thesis statement. Explain the significance of the evidence in the context of the broader themes or ideas you are discussing.

notion image

  • Review the organization of your essay. Ensure each paragraph flows logically from one to the next, supporting your thesis statement.
  • Confirm that each body paragraph begins with a clear topic sentence that relates directly to your thesis and sets the focus for the paragraph.
  • Revisit your thesis statement. Ensure it presents your main argument and provides a roadmap for the reader to understand the scope of your analysis.
  • Evaluate the textual evidence you've provided. Ensure each quote or example directly supports your points about the theme or argument.
  • Throughout the essay, maintain a consistent focus on the chosen theme. Avoid tangential discussions that do not directly contribute to your central argument.
  • Edit for grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure errors. Pay attention to spelling and word choice.
  • Focuses on analyzing a specific passage, scene, or excerpt from a literary work in detail.
  • Examines language, style, imagery, and literary devices to uncover deeper meanings and themes.
  • Example: Analyzing the symbolism of the green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" and its thematic significance.
  • Analyze a specific character's development, motivations, and significance in a literary work.
  • Explores how characters contribute to the overall themes and messages of the text.
  • Example: Examining the character of Hamlet in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to understand his internal conflicts and role in the play's exploration of revenge and mortality.
  • Focuses on exploring and interpreting a literary work's central themes or ideas.
  • Examines how recurring themes contribute to the overall meaning and impact of the text.
  • Example**: Analyzing the theme of isolation in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and its implications for the characters' development and societal critique.
  • Compares and contrasts two or more literary works, characters, themes, or authors.
  • Highlights similarities and differences to deepen understanding of literary techniques, themes, or cultural contexts.
  • Example: Comparing the depiction of women in Charlotte Bront's "Jane Eyre" and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" to explore differing perspectives on gender roles.
  • Analyzes symbolic elements and figurative representations within a literary work.
  • reveals hidden meanings and underlying messages conveyed through symbols, motifs, or symbolic narratives.
  • Examines a literary work's historical, cultural, or social context.
  • Investigate how historical or cultural factors influence the author's themes, characters, and narrative techniques.
  • Focuses on analyzing a literary work's narrative techniques, structure, and form.
  • Examines how narrative choices impact the reader's experience and contribute to thematic development.

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

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5 Ways to Create a Literacy-Rich Preschool Classroom

Consider these straightforward ideas for setting up a literacy-friendly environment for pre-K learners.

Photo of elementary classroom

Language and literacy skills in preschool and kindergarten are a strong predictor of children’s academic achievement in all subject areas through high school. In light of this, many preschool teachers feel compelled to provide rote, direct instruction to explicitly teach alphabet knowledge and phonics. Contrary to this inclination, theories of child development suggest that children are concrete learners and retain information best when it is grounded in their existing knowledge (e.g., constructivism ). Teachers can support this by offering real and meaningful experiences that help children connect new learning to what they already know.

The good news for preschool teachers is that such experiences don’t necessarily require hours of planning and carefully crafted lessons. Preschool classrooms can be filled with literacy-rich materials and opportunities for teachers to facilitate meaningful, contextualized learning throughout children’s day.

Here are five ways that preschool teachers can create a literacy-rich environment that encourages children’s natural curiosity and meaningfully promotes emergent reading and writing skills.

An environment for literacy

1. Label children’s personal items and spaces with their photos and names: Preschoolers first begin to identify the letters in their own names, followed by their friends’ names. Add labels with children’s photos and their names to cubbies, coat hooks, seats, place mats, classroom jobs, or any other individual items you may have in your classroom.

When it is time to put things away, encourage children to find their own name. This not only encourages valuable self-help skills but also helps them begin to identify their names in print. Occasionally, you can also ask children to help a friend put away their items too. For example, “Sally left her water bottle on the table. Can you put it in her cubby?”

When children are ready, remove the photo support and continue with only written names. Ask questions like “How do you know that’s Sally’s cubby?” to guide them toward letter identification in the context of their friends’ names.

2. Label classroom materials with both pictures and words: Environmental print in the classroom serves multiple purposes. First, photos of materials with word labels on baskets, bins, and shelves help children easily find materials and know exactly where those materials belong when they’re cleaning up. They also allow children to see that print has a purpose and that groups of printed letters represent words.

Finally, with adult support, children can begin to associate beginning letters with sounds, using the pictures of familiar classroom materials as a reference. As children are cleaning up, try asking, “What goes in this basket?” and “How do you know?” Encourage them to “read” the label using the pictures and the words.

3. Add books to every learning center or interest area: Books don’t have to be limited only to your classroom library. Adding a basket of topic-related books to each interest area helps children develop an understanding between print and its purpose.

Educator Kristin Rydholm provides some great lists of picture books related to dramatic play , blocks , math , and makerspaces . Here are some relevant topics for books for interest center libraries. 

  • Community helpers, different types of families, and cookbooks in the dramatic play center
  • Buildings, construction, and maps or atlases in the block area
  • Books showcasing famous artists or featuring colors and shapes in the art center
  • Counting, numbers, sorting, and patterns in the math center
  • Critters, nature, and creating with loose parts in the science center
  • Mentor texts in the writing center (like A Squiggly Story , by Andrew Larsen)

4. Offer writing materials in every learning center or interest area: Preschool teachers often have a writing center available in their classroom, but why limit writing to just one space? Adults use writing all the time—from writing out birthday cards to jotting down grocery lists and sticky note reminders, writing is all around us. Young children, who learn best through meaningful and contextualized experiences, should also have opportunities to practice writing for a variety of purposes. Though a well-crafted writing center is important, offer writing materials in every area of the classroom.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children provides tips for strategically placing writing materials throughout the room and connecting emergent writing experiences to topics of interest. Other opportunities for emergent writing practice throughout the classroom may include the following:

  • Taking restaurant orders, making price tags, and more in the dramatic play center
  • Drafting architectural plans and labeling buildings in the block center
  • Recording observations of a science experiment in the science center

5. Create resource rings with relevant vocabulary words: With intentional and continued exposure, young children can build the rich and expansive vocabulary they need for later reading development. As your class explores new topics of interest throughout the year, be intentional about exposing children to new vocabulary words.

Create resource rings with topic-related vocabulary words and picture cues to add to a designated area of the classroom; some teachers may prefer to place these in the writing center. Add a hole punch to each card, and group topic-related word cards on a single binder ring. These school-related vocabulary cards by Karen Cox are a great example. As children are discussing topics of study with their friends, or writing/drawing about their learning, direct them to the resource rings as a tool for remembering and/or writing vocabulary words.

Preschool language and literacy skills are critical for children’s long-term school success, but teachers shouldn’t feel pressured to spend hours planning for direct instruction. Much of children’s early language and literacy learning will occur organically in a literacy-rich preschool classroom. By embedding language and literacy materials throughout the classroom with special attention to each interest area, teachers can encourage literacy development in ways that are engaging, contextualized, and driven by each child’s interest.

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Manuscripts, Music, Machaut: Essays in Honor of Lawrence Earp . Edited by Jared C. Hartt, Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel, and Benjamin L. Albritton

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Jennifer Saltzstein, Manuscripts, Music, Machaut: Essays in Honor of Lawrence Earp . Edited by Jared C. Hartt, Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel, and Benjamin L. Albritton, French Studies , 2024;, knae086, https://doi.org/10.1093/fs/knae086

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Those who undertake research into the poetry, music, and manuscripts of Guillaume de Machaut reliably begin by consulting Lawrence Earp’s magisterial book, Guillaume de Machaut: A Guide to Research (New York: Garland, 1995). Manuscripts, Music, Machaut honours Earp by demonstrating the degree to which the field of Machaut studies has been not simply informed, but shaped, by Earp’s Guide , his other publications, and his conviction that Machaut studies should cross the disciplines of palaeography, musicology, literary studies, and art history. The twenty-six chapters of the volume under review are organized around themes that highlight Earp’s scholarship and its influence. The editors mention the haste with which the volume was created so that it could be published in honour of Earp’s seventieth birthday, noting that the authors’ participation was secured in the space of a week. The quality of the final product bears little trace of this haste, whether one considers the copy-editing, the richness of the many full-colour image reproductions, the detailed diagrams and carefully annotated musical examples, or the thoughtfulness of the lengthy Introduction. Some chapters are inevitably more closely interrelated than others and the title term ‘manuscripts’ serves as a very broad unifier. Space prevents me from providing an overview of each chapter, yet a few contributions warrant special note. Andrew Wathey’s chapter, ‘Guillaume de Machaut and Yolande of Flanders’, presents new archival evidence that both Guillaume de Machaut and his brother Jean were in service at the court of Yolande, Countess of Bar, by 5 May 1349 (editions and translations of these documents are provided). Wathey also locates Guillaume de Machaut’s personal seal which, though fragmentary, seems to represent the poet-composer dressed in clerical garb and wearing an almoner’s purse at his waist. Yolanda Plumley and Anne Stone examine, in their chapter, ‘Machaut on the Loose in Italy: Two Case Studies’, the reception of several of Machaut’s songs in Italy, offering a vivid picture of the Florentine circulation of De petit po (B18). Kevin Brownlee’s chapter, ‘Machaut as Poet Figure in the Prise d’Alexandre ’, places the authorial anagram in this work within the context of the poet-author-composer’s strategies of self-naming and personal genealogies across his poetic output. In ‘Silencing the Sirens and Rethinking Masculinity in Machaut’s Voir dit ’, Deborah McGrady addresses relationships between song and masculinity in Machaut’s self-representation. Several of the chapters are historiographical, notably Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel’s, in which the author uses the tool Gephi to visualize networks of citation around Earp’s Guide , demonstrating its profound influence in subsequent scholarship. Together, many of the chapters in this volume testify to the seeming inexhaustibility of Machaut’s corpus, which continues to reward attentive study.

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examples of literacy essays

Inside Reese Witherspoon’s Literary Empire

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Jeff O'Neal

Jeff O'Neal is the executive editor of Book Riot and Panels. He also co-hosts The Book Riot Podcast . Follow him on Twitter: @thejeffoneal .

View All posts by Jeff O'Neal

Inside Reese Witherspoon’s Literary Empire

This profile in The New York Times by Elisabeth Egan is the most detailed look yet at how Witherspoon and her book club think, operate, and influence. There’s real intention in how Witherspoon picks (even to the point of choosing lighter reads in May and December when women, who comprise the bulk of her audience, are especially busy). And while surely it is a positive for any book to get picked for the book club, the examples here seem cherry-picked; the first three selections did quite well, but they were also the first three; a five-year-old novel saw a “10,000 percent” increase in sales; one author became the first in her family to own a home. But not every (many, most?) pick sees a huge lift as far as I can tell. All in all, Witherspoon and her book-picking staff come off as well-intentioned and entrepreneurial. Which in the world of books is much-needed.

Future 2024 Bestsellers

Kirkus makes the case that these upcoming books should be bestsellers . I don’t know if that should is about probability, merit, prognostication, or some combination, but the lists serve as a good, succinct preview of the new couple of seasons in books. Some are on trend (romantasy anyone) and some are well-timed (hard to imagine Kent State having a more meaningful moment to come out) and some seem like a little bit of wishful thinking (I will read a book about refrigeration. Just not sure enough other people will for it to chart).

Buy Yourself a Gift Card

Really liked this piece by Barry Petchesky at Defector about buying yourself a bookstore gift card . Of course, you could always just buy books without one, but the gift card is a “hack” for making sure you actually spend on books, especially locally. I love getting bookstore gift cards as gifts, as I find the process of taking time to go to the store, wandering around for a while, and finally deciding on something to be as much a part of the gift as the book itself. And if you lose the gift card or never use it, that’s money for the store guaranteed.

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