Sara Layton
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson, Module, Unit of Study
Middle School, High School, Community College / Lower Division, Adult Education
11, 12
Creative Commons Attribution
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Education Standards

Writing the Literacy Narrative

Writing the Literacy Narrative


This Google hyperdoc walks students through the writing process for a literacy narrative in a series of steps. This can be used in a high school or college ELA course that requires personal narrative. 

Writing the Literacy Narrative

Literacy Narrative -

In this tutorial, you will walk through instruction and writing steps that will lead you to a literacy narrative. Please make a copy of this document (File>Make Copy) and complete all of the steps below:



Literacy Narrative Requirements4 pages, double spaced (1000 words)MLA FormatSee your course and fill in your due dates
Prewriting Check (Week 3)Due Date:
Draft Due to Peer Editing Form (Week 4)Due Dates (there are 2 due dates):
Final Draft (Week 5)Due Date:







Sometimes it’s nice to know how your paper will be graded before you start writing. Here are the key features of a well-written paper

From  Norton Field Guide chapter 10


A well-told story. As with most narratives, those about literacy often set up some sort of situation that needs to be resolved. That need for resolution makes readers want to keep on reading. Some literacy narratives simply explore the role that developing literacy of some kind played at some time in someone’s life, as when Felsenfeld “was knocked sideways” by classical music. And some, like Vallowe’s, speculate on the origins of the writer’s literacy.
Vivid detail. Details can bring a narrative to life for readers by giving them vivid mental sensations 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.
Some indication of the narrative’s significance. By definition, a literacy narrative tells something the writer remembers about learning to read, write, or gain competence in a specific area. In addition, the writing needs to make clear why the incident matters to them. You may reveal its significance in various ways.


Step 1: Choosing a Topic

In general, it’s a good idea to focus on a single event that took place during a relatively brief period of time--though sometimes learning to do or understand something ,au tale [;ace over an extended period. In that case, several snapshots or important moments may be needed. Here are some suggestions for topics:



  • Any early memory about writing, reading, speaking, or another form of literacy that you recall vividly
  • Someone who taught you to read or write
  • Someone who helped you understand how to do something
  • A book, video game, recording, or other text that has been significant for you in some way
  • An event at school that was related to your literacy and that you found interesting, humorous, or embarrassing
  • A literacy task that you found (or still find) especially difficult or challenging
  • A memento that represents an important moment in your literacy development
  • The origins of your current attitudes about writing, reading, speaking, or doing something
  • Learning to text, learning to write email appropriately, creating and maintaining social media/blog



In the box below, make a list of possible topics, then choose one that you think will be interesting to you and to others. Choose at least one and spend 30 minutes freewriting, listing, clustering, or looping in the box below. This will be graded. You are welcome to do this by hand and upload an image in the box below if that suits you better.


Step 2: Generating Ideas and Text  


In the columns below you will generate text. Much of it may be used later as you draft your paper, but don’t worry about that now. Use these  exercises to help you get your ideas down.
Purpose: Why do you want to tell this tory? To share a memory? Fulfill an assignment? Teach a lesson? Explore your past? 
Audience: Remember you will be posting your paper in a forum for peers to read.  Are your readers likely to have had similar experiences? Would they tell similar stories? How much explaining will you have to do to help them understand your narrative? Can you assume that they will share your attitudes, or will you have to work at making them see your perspective? How much of your life are you willing to share with your audience? 
Stance: What attitude do you want to project? Affectionate? Neutral? Critical, Sincere? Serious? Humorous? Nostalgic? 
Describe the setting: Where does your story take place? List the places, and then describe the settings: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? How and what do you feel? What do you taste? 
Think about the key people: Narratives include people whose actions play an important role in the story. Describe teacher person in a paragraph or so 
Recall or imagine some characteristic dialogue: A good way to bring people to life and move a story along is with dialogue, to let readers hear them rather than just hearing about them. Write 6-10 lines of dialogue between two people in your narrative. If you don’t recall an actual conversation, create one that could have happened. 
Write about what happened: This is the heart of any good narrative. Summarize what happened in a paragraph or so--you will of course expand when you write your draft 
Consider the Significance of the narrative: You need to make it clear why this event was significant to you and to your reader. How did it change you? Why was it meaningful? Why does it matter? 


Step 3: Organization of the Literacy Narrative  


Below are three different options for organizing your essay. Choose one of them (don’t be afraid to choose something other than chronological!). Click on the image and use the down arrow to open the drawing, make a copy,  and fill in the boxes with elements from your story to help you outline your organization




Paste in your link:




Once you have completed Steps 1-3, submit a link to your copy of this document to your teacher as your Prewriting Check

Step 4- Draft

Use this MLA formatted writing template linked HERE to draft out your 4 page (1000 word) essay by making a copy and adding your own information.  Add a link to your paper in the box below. Make sure it is set so that “Anyone with a link CAN EDIT” Do this by clicking SHARE in the top right corner. Then click “change” under the “get link” box, and use the down arrow to change so that anyone at MHA can edit.


link to paper: 


Step 5: Get Feedback


Submit your draft to Use feedback to polish your essay. Here is a TUTORIAL for
What feedback did you get from Paste it in this box:



Step 6- Peer Editing

Go back to the course and submit your draft for peer editing. You will post your own draft, then edit two of your peers’ drafts. Read the directions carefully in the Peer Editing Forum.



Step 7: Final Paper

Once you have revised your draft, you will submit your final draft to your teacher in the course. You may also paste the draft below. Make sure it is shared so that anyone from MHA with a link can edit:



Paste in Link: