The aim of this semester-long, sequenced assignment series is to juxtapose first-person narratives with third-person scholarly texts in order to find an intermediate terrain from which you begin to construct your own literacy narratives. Multiple types of writing, carried out in stages that build upon and inform each other, will help you to attain a firmer understanding of the complexities of reading and writing about literacy.

First Response (2 pages, due February 9): Describe how a particular event or moment in your college education has contributed to your literacy. Compare and contrast it to one of the literacy narratives we have read.

First Response Revision (due February 23)

First Paper (4-6 pages, at least 1500 words, due March 9): Using a text by at least ONE of the following authors we have discussed so far [Douglass, Rodriguez, Tan, or AnzaldĂșa], identify and describe a few specific features of the author’s presentation of his or her experience that qualify it as a literacy narrative. To construct your argument, explain how the primary text exhibits at least two stylistic choices one might encounter in a literacy narrative; use one of the secondary readings by Soliday or Eldred and Mortensen.

First Paper Revision (due March 23)

Second Paper (6-8 pages, at least 2500 words, due April 20): In this research essay, using Mike Rose’s book, you will isolate an aspect of literacy narratives that illustrates some aspect of these larger concerns about higher education and then use Rose as a starting point to investigate a current conversation (state-wide, nation-wide, or international) about the issue. You must also seek out information in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Bechdel/Alexie Project: a presentable version of what may (hopefully!) be a continuing project due May 14

Third Paper (6-8 pages, at least 2500 words, due May 22): Your third and final essay is a 6-8 page reflection on your first college semester. The paper will be an autobiography-based narrative in which you consider yourself as a social subject shaped by and interacting within a broader world. You must also use secondary sources to place your own literacy experiences in the context of broader, issue-based conversations.

ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENTS: You will maintain an ongoing discussion about the course readings with your peers on our class blog (you must post every Sunday evening by 8 pm, so your classmates have a chance to read and respond to your comments). Your blog posts don’t have to be formal: I want to see that you are engaging with the readings and ideas on your own as well as in class.

REVISIONS: You are required to revise your first response and your first paper (your first two assignments). If you receive a B or lower on any subsequent paper, you may revise it, and I will take the higher grade into account; you have one week after the day you receive it to complete and return your revisions. Depending on the quality of your revision, you can improve your original grade by up to one full letter grade. All revisions must be accompanied by three to four robust paragraphs describing the revision choices you made, as well as any other parts of the experience of revising.

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