Personal Literacy Reflection

Goals of the assignment 

In addition to introducing the topic of language and culture that we will be discussing, reading and writing about this semester, this assignment includes the following goals:

  • learning to focus on a particular experience and/or text and dominant impression
  • practicing development using specific details (showing versus telling)
  • emphasizing personal experience and personal authority
  • exploring topics using a variety of collecting strategies
  • introducing peer review techniques

We will discuss and explore our experience with language, collect ideas about our own language experiences, draft a paper on one of those experiences, participate in a peer review workshop over drafts of the paper, revise the paper, and turn it in for comments and a grade.  The expectations for the final paper include the following:

Purpose of the paper

To reflect upon an experience with language and explain how that experience has affected you; to communicate a dominant impression about your experience; to introduce an aspect of yourself to your instructor and the class


Your instructor and classmates.


Focus on a particular experience and/or text that shows how your experience with language has affected you.  Develop your paper with specific details that show your readers the experience and its effect. [See PHG pp. 53-59 and 103-108.]  Organize your paper as a narrative (story). [See PHG pp. 126-131.]   Edit your paper to remove errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics so that it is clear and readable.


Length guidelines: 2-4 pages.Workshop and final drafts must be typed.  Type your essay in a readable, 10-12 point font (please, no script fonts or entire papers in italics).  Use margins of one-inch all around and double-space.  Print on an ink jet or laser printer.  Submit your paper in a pocket folder and include with it all collecting, drafts, workshop comments, and answers to postscript questions [# 1-4,  p. 134 of PHG, and 5. What did you learn about literacy and/or yourself in class and/or the process of writing this paper?]. 

Grading Criteria

A — paper will be tightly focused on a particular event and/or text, resulting in a dominant impression of how the experience/text affected the writer. The central idea of the paper will clearly be a experience with language. The paper will use a variety of techniques to show, such as dialogue, figurative language, sensory detail, imagery, etc.  The narrative will be organized in a way that is easy to follow.  Language and tone will be appropriate to the audience.  Few, if any spelling, mechanical, or grammatical errors will exist.

B — paper will generally meet the criteria as an ‘A’ paper does, but will be weaker in one of the following ways: too much telling (needs more showing), could be more focused (generally focused but some less relevant detail), a few minor mechanical errors.

C — paper has a noticeable weakness in one of the following areas or some weakness in two areas:  loose focus (may mention or try to tie into literacy but does not zero in on it or tries to cover too much rather than focusing on a particular text/experience); inadequate development (mostly tells rather than shows); disorganized narrative (hard to follow the story); frequent editing errors.

R — paper has serious problems in meeting the minimum requirements of the assignment.  If your paper receives an ‘R,’ you will have one week to revise it.  If the revision meets the criteria for a grade of C or better, you will receive credit for the paper.  Revised papers cannot receive higher than a ‘C.’  

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