Nichols's narrative focuses on her emotional reaction to failing a test that she should have passed easily.
The contrast between her demonstrated writing ability and her repeated failures creates a tension that captures readers' attention. As with most narratives, those about literacy often set up some sort of situation that needs to be resolved.
This chapter provides detailed guidelines for writing a literacy narrative. In the following literacy narrative, Shannon Nichols, a student at Wright State University, describes her experience taking the standardized writing proficiency test that high school students in Ohio must pass to graduate.
She wrote this essay for a college writing course, where her audience included her classmates and instructor. I surely spelled every word correctly, used good grammar, and even used big words in the proper context. Finally I got over it and decided it was no big deal. In my honors English class I worked diligently, passing with an A.
With the global rise of a politics of shock driven by authoritarian regimes that subvert the rule of law and civil liberties, what paths to resistance, sanctuary, and change can cultural institutions offer? In this book, more than twenty leading curators and thinkers about contemporary art present powerful case studies, historical analyses, and theoretical perspectives that address the dynamics of activism, protest, and advocacy.
Writing a Literacy Narrative Narratives are stories, and we read and tell them for many different purposes.Brief, accessible, and inexpensive, The Little Brown Essential Handbook, Fifth Edition, answers questions about the writing process, usage, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, document design, research writing, and documentation.Minimal terminology, clear explanations and examples, and pointers for ESL writers help students at all levels.Some literacy narratives simply explore the role that reading or writing played at some time in someone's life—assuming, perhaps, that learning to read or write is a challenge to be met.Details can bring a narrative to life for readers by giving them vivid mental images of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the world in which your story takes place.The details you use when describing something can help readers picture places, people, and events; dialogue can help them hear what is being said.We get a picture of the only treasure Bragg has ever known through the details he provides: "a water-damaged Faulkner," "a paperback with two naked women on the cover," books "wrapped in fake leather." Similarly, we hear a three-yearold's exasperation through his own words: "I'd like to see a menu." Dialogue can help bring a narrative to life.That need for resolution makes readers want to keep reading.We want to know whether Nichols ultimately will pass the proficiency test.The first time I took the ninth-grade proficiency test was in March of eighth grade. By October I'd be ready to conquer that writing test. I failed the test again, again with only 4.5 of the 5 points needed to pass. I had disappointed my family and seriously let myself down.The test ultimately determines whether students may receive a high school diploma. To make matters worse, most of my classmates, including some who were barely passing eighth-grade English, passed that part. That time I did cry, and even went to my English teacher, Mrs. Worst of all, I still couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Apparently—I told myself—the people grading the tests didn't have the slightest clue about what constituted good writing.