A literacy narrative is a form of free writing that brings life experiences into account.
Piece of Advice
It is easy to write in difficult words, but difficult to write in easy words.
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.