How to Write a Literacy Autobiography
A literacy autobiography is "an account of significant factors and events that have contributed to your development as a reader or writer." The role language plays in your life is the product of numerous experiences that have shaped the way you think, write and read. Writing a literacy autobiography is your chance to tell a compelling story of how your past experiences with written and spoken words have created your present-day relationship with language.
Make a literacy timeline by brainstorming as many significant memories and experiences with language as you can. For example, you might write about what books you most enjoyed reading as a child, your attitudes toward writing and how they have changed, your favorite or least favorite English teachers, or personal writing you did when you were younger, such as poetry or diary entries. Literacy can also mean experiences with communication; therefore, you might think about the role language played in your family or social groups when growing up. Then, consider what your views of literacy are today and how these experiences helped to create them.
Once you've brainstormed the major events of your literary development, look through the list and identify the most significant ones. Consider what themes you see in your life experience. For example, certain stories or characters may have inspired you to gain confidence or see yourself in a new light, or because of a teacher or parent's encouragement, journaling or creative writing have become lifelong pastimes. Focus your material to the events that have most shaped your current relationship with literacy.
A literacy autobiography is primarily a personal narrative. As you write, think about how to implement devices like characterization, setting, description and dialogue. Think about how you might make your teacher come to life as a character, or how your favorite place to read as a child might become a vivid setting. Consider what descriptions might make your audience feel the thrill of a brush with a good story, or the frustration of a school struggle. The most successful literacy autobiographies don't just tell a story, but make readers interested and invested in it.
For a literacy autobiography to be most effective, readers have to understand the significance of the events to your present day life. The end of your essay should focus on analyzing and reflecting on who you have become as a result of the events you've shared. Consider what role literacy currently plays in your life through the books you enjoy, what and why you write, and how you communicate with others. Then, share with readers how your current relationship with language has changed because of your story.
Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.