For Students – Literacy Narrative

Literacy narratives share creative ground with memoir. However, in the former, writers focus specifically on foundational experiences with language, and interrogate the work language does. For example, in “A Bilingual Journey,” Cami Chamorro uses her experiences learning Spanish as an opportunity to discuss how language enables deep and complex family relationships. Similarly, in “My Life Be Like,” Tiaya Hubbard recounts her struggle with a racist teacher, and Matthew Oakley’s work, “Baseball In Me,” describes how he learned the value of signs in baseball.

Questions for students:

  • How does language shape and inform the authors’ life experiences?
  • What is the role of language in personal growth?
  • Does the way the narrators experience language differ from the way others experience it?
  • What are the implications and consequences of this?
  • How does language connect us? Isolate us?
  • What conclusions might we draw about the connections between language and identity?

Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives is a wide-ranging, expansive and inclusive public archive, curated by Georgia State and Ohio State. It’s quite possibly the best place to begin developing a literacy narrative unit.