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Literacy can be a tricky tightrope on which many of your future students will find balance and strength, but also one that can bring feelings of inadequacy for some students. Literacy, especially writing, is personal and exposes the writer to all sorts of criticism, and when evaluated, has the potential to uplift or destroy. Your future students carry to school with them a unique mix of cultural awareness, personal experiences, thoughts and emotions, relationships and interactions. ALL of this contributes to how they perceive themselves as writers and readers. “In adolescence…it is the belief in the self (or the lack of such belief) that makes a difference in how competent a person feels” (Alvermann, 2002, p. 191).
Before we can effectively teach literacy, we must first reflect on our own literacy
experiences. When we consider our literacy history, interests, and process, we are better able to design writing and reading assignments with our students’ unique perspectives and experiences in mind. For this project, you will put together a literacy history memoir that explores the roots of your own writing and reading practices, and the ways in which these practices help shape your own methods for teaching literacy to your secondary students. Our language methods course begins with this assignment with the goal of exemplifying your own literacy with what you know better than anything else: yourself, your experiences, and your perception of yourself as a writer and reader.
To this point, you have had a variety of literacy experiences, both in and outside of
school. For this project, start by mapping your history as a literate person; from this map
(outline), piece together, revise and refine a cohesive memoir that shares (1) your literacy journey, (2) the ideologies held by you and those around you, and finally, (3) how you envision these experiences and ideologies transferring to your upcoming role as a literacy teacher.
Media and Modes:
Using multiple mediums (a minimum of 3, one of which will be a written essay), this project invites you to share your persona literacy journey. Do your best to explore and express the most significant and impactful
moments of your journey using these multiple modalities. In doing so, you will use
visuals, auditory text, and written text. Share a range of your literacy capacities and how
they have developed in your life. You will share this online and in class so be sure your
memoir is conducive to those spaces.
Begin by thinking of moments when you grew significantly from your own reading, writing, thinking, speaking or listening. Finds those texts (whatever medium), and share how that text changed you and how you grew. Think also about different spaces in which you learn: i.e., at school, online, talking with friends, at home, alone. These spaces might be significant to your literacy growth as well.
What is your earliest memory of writing/reading or learning to write/read?
What influences have helped shape your literacy habits?
Share pieces of the process (conferencing, peer feedback, written
feedback, revision, scoring) that have spurred you on as a writer.
Tell about a time when a part of the process stunted your ability to move forward.
Describe your writing process or reading process.
Will you share your writing with students?
How will you help shape your students’ perceptions of themselves as
Writers and readers?
You will be evaluated in the following ways:
Your memoir adheres to a style and organization that respects the reader.
You have included important details from your life as a writer and or reader.
You build the connection between your own writing and reading experiences and how you will teach literacy.
You provide a full printed draft and engage in the peer feedback process.
Your final paper shows evidence of thoughtful refinement and revision.