+ Literacy Narrative

What is a Literacy Narrative?

It could mean a coupla things, but generally speaking, a literacy narrative tells a story about how you learned to read and write. As the international website, Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, says,

This collection might include a story about learning to read cereal boxes and a story about learning to write plays. Some people will want to record their memories about the bedtime stories their parents read to them, the comics they looked at in the newspaper, or their first library card. Others will want to tell a story about writing a memorable letter, leaning how to write on a computer or taking a photograph; reading the Bible, publishing a ‘zine’, or sending an e-mail message.

So, a literacy narrative tells others how you came to understand a particular literacy practice (broadly conceived, as the examples above indicate) at some point in your life. There are all sorts of prompts/questions on how to come up with an idea you’re interested in telling, and those prompts are listed on the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives website. We’ll be using this site as our assignment guide, as our end goal is to upload (if you wish) your narrative to this site.

Specifics of the Assignment (for Sept. 8)

  1. Brainstorm what story you’d like to tell.
  2. Draft what you will say.
  3. Record (video or audio) a 1 to 5-minute narrative, in teams.
  4. Register for the DALN site.
  5. Upload your literacy narrative to the site, following all of its upload directions. (If you do not want to participate in the DALN site/study, ask me for alternate assignment-delivery options.)
  6. When you’re filling out the keywords/description of your narrative for the site, make sure to include the tag “ILSTU” and “ENG239”, so your narrative can be included as part of the Contributing Partners Search.

Due date: We might be able to complete the assignment in class, if you need more time, it is due by next Wednesday’s class. (Sept. 15)


Updated Sept. 15: Based on your blog posts, detailing what revisions you’d make to your literacy narratives, we’re going to work for the next two weeks on making those revisions happen. I will post new instructions here by the end of the day on Sept. 15.

Purpose of Revision: To focus more specifically on how your literacy narratives work as multimodal texts, including focusing more closely on the process of composing them.

Due dates:

  • Proposal & storyboard = by beginning of class on Wed., Sept. 22 (single-spaced, one-page, printed)
  • Revised narrative = by beginning of class on Wed., Sept. 29 (bring e-copy to upload)


  • to practice composing and revising multimodal texts
  • to work individually on a sustained and edited multimodal text
  • to learn more about possible technologies you might could use to create a certain genre of multimodal text (the literacy narrative)
  • to talk in more depth about accessibility and usability issues with digital media texts

Based on the blog post you made where you suggested what changes/revisions you’d make to your literacy narrative, write a one-page (single-spaced) proposal for revising your literacy narrative. The proposal needs to include the following information:

  • Summary of the new narrative/story
  • Length of proposed narrative
  • Technologies you might need to implement these revisions (list what they are & what you actually have access to vs. what you’d need to get access to)
  • Digital assets you need to compose the new narrative (same as above, but for specific multimedia assets, e.g., songs, video shots of yourself, videos of others, etc.)
  • Plan/timeline/schedule for learning the technologies and collecting the assets you need. (Base this on the fact that a draft of your revised narrative is due in class by Wed., Sept. 29).
  • A storyboard (multimodal outline for videos) or script (for audio essays) of your text. [Here’s an example of how storyboards and script might work. And here are a few more storyboard examples with a printable template.]

Following discussion in class on Sept. 22 of the proposal and storyboard, you will contract with Dr. Ball to use any technology (hardware) you don’t already have available, to complete a draft of your literacy narrative for the following week’s class.

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