A literacy autobiography is meant to describe and analyze your personal history with the various stages/parts of literacy. How did you come to be literate? The second part of this project should project what you've learned in writing this literacy autobiography into the future: how do your experiences with literacy define/shape/complicate your future plans as a literacy instructor?

Why do I start the course with this kind of assignment?

  • We will use it as one way to explore the concept of "literacy" and its acquisition, development, expansion, and uses.
  • It connects your experience outside this classroom with the readings/discussions we're having inside this classroom.
  • We will also be able to use the assignment as a way to model process writing and writing-workshop environments, as we work through discovery and prewriting activities, inquiry, drafting, sharing and responding to work in progress, editing, proofreading, publishing, assessing, and ongoing reflection.

One of your purposes for working on the LA assignment is to come to a fuller understanding of yourself as a teacher of literate practices. This will be a way for you to explain to yourself and to your classmates (and perhaps to your future students) how you came to be the teacher that you are and will be. Examining yourself as a writer, reader, and prospective teacher, perhaps for the first time, permits you to reflect on the processes and approaches you have been using (and why, and with what consequence) and to consider alternatives for the future.

For this assignment, consider your experiences as widely as possible, selecting those that seem significant, those that help you construct your account most effectively. As you reflect on your past, do not limit yourself only to school experiences. Research shows that literacy (and learning of all kinds) is fundamentally social and that individuals acquire literacy as the result of a wide range of interactions. We become "literate" through a wide range of experiences, not necessarily only through schooling, so you will want to examine your past carefully and thoughtfully, discovering as much as you can about your "educational experiences" (broadly defined) and considering carefully how those experiences contributed to (or not) your becoming literate. (See the Literacy Questions for help in remembering).

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