Who are you as a writer? as a reader? as a thinker and a student? What key events lead to this perception of yourself as a writer? Who were the key players involved in the development of who you feel you are as a writer right now, today—as you sit in this classroom getting ready to embark on a semester of more reading and writing, this time for college?
We will begin this class by asking you to tell a story that describes your attitude toward reading and writing. How do you feel about “school literacy”—the kinds of reading and writing you do at and for school? How is this reading and writing different from the reading and writing you do outside of school?
One student recalls the time she marked out the pages in her book of Disney stories with a magic marker. As she explains, “I remember blacking out all those words was my attempt to mimic my mother’s study habits (her mother was then in college), but I didn’t quite get the need for a highlighter.” She just saw her mother with a marker and a book and thus attempted to “perform” college-level literacy as a “real” college student might.
Another student remembers the “map” he and his brother created to efficiently negotiate their favorite video game (an early, text-based adventure game); he recalls that he found video games to be much more intellectually stimulating and productive than the essays he was required to generate for school.
What stories do you have for us?
* * *
Assignment Description: In-class essay about your writing experiences and perceptions of yourself as a reader and a writer.
Questions to explore: What key literacy events that have shaped who you are as a writer, reader, thinker, student (and/or something else). Tell a story that describes your attitude toward reading and writing. How do you feel about “school literacy”—the kinds of reading and writing you do at and for school? How is this reading and writing different from the reading and writing you do outside of school? You needn’t answer all of these questions. Just choose one or more that really seem to get you thinking. Most of all, we want to hear a story that best describes your attitude toward reading and writing in school and/or beyond.
Purpose: To begin exploring and rethinking what it means (and what it can mean) to read and write in different places and for different purposes by first thinking about our current perceptions of literacy (in and out of school).
Writing Process Suggestions: Take some time to generate ideas (brainstorming, freewriting, etc) before you get started. Leave some time at the end to reread what you have written, make any necessary changes, and correct any spelling and grammatical inconsistencies. Give your essay a provocative (and relevant) title, and turn in the final draft and any notes/previous drafts when you are done.
Some things to remember: Generate this first, in-class essay in “essay” form. Make sure you have a strong and relevant title, an organizational structure a reader can follow with ease, adequate evidence, and whatever else the reader may need to follow along. Developing an effective essay will require some planning, but this short essay is due at the end of class today. Use your time wisely.