Exercise 1.1: Evaluate a Literacy Narrative

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Questions: 

How Writing Works

  1. What is a Genre? 

Exercise 1.1: Evaluate a Literacy Narrative

For Sultaan’s or Tan’s text, answer the following questions: 

  1. What is it? Is it a literacy narrative? What features does it share with Douglass’s narrative? How can you tell if it’s a literacy narrative? 
  2. What kind of person authored this literacy narrative? What can you tell about her personal history just from this story about literacy? 
  3. Who reads it? (List all possible audiences of this literacy narrative.)
  4. What is it for? Why might the author have written this literacy narrative? What kind of message is the author trying to get across with this literacy narrative? Are there multiple messages? What are they? 
  5. In what ways are literacy and power connected in this literacy narrative? 

B. “What Is It?” Identify Shared Conventions

Exercise 1.2: Discover Conventions of Everyday Genres 

Make a list of three or four genres you write daily or weekly (e.g. text message, to do list, grocery list, list of lists, organizer, journal entry, etc. 

  1. What is it? 
  2. What conventions do you repeat every time you write this genre? 
  3. What conventions do you change or ignore? 
  4. How do you decide to change or ignore certain conventions? 

Multimedia Exercise 1.1: Compare Print and Digital Conventions 

Think of a traditional print genre (such as a letter). Next, think of a genre that is similar to the traditional print genre that only exists online or in a digital format (such as email). Answer the following questions: 

  1. How are the conventions of the online/digital genre different from the print genre? 
  2. What conventions does the digital genre share with the print genre? 

C. “Who Reads It?” : Identify an Audience 

Exercise 1.3: Identify the Audience 

Pick one of the everyday genres you identified in Exercise 1.2 or pick another genre that you write regularly. Answer the following questions about the audiences for that genre: 

  1. Who will read this document? Yourself? Others? A large audience? Or a small one? 
  2. What will the reader do with this document? 
  3. How will the reader read it? In print? Online? In a book? On a bulletin board? 

Multimedia Exercise 1.2: Identify Your Preferences as a Reader

Think of a genre that you read online regularly, such as a blog or an online newspaper. Answer the following questions from the perspective of the genre’s audience: 

  1. Why do you enjoy reading this genre? 
  2. When do you usually read this genre and on what device? (For example: On a mobile device? Tablet? Laptop or desktop computer?)
  3. How do the genre’s conventions make it easy and/or difficult for you to read the genre on your preferred device? 

D. “What’s It For?” Identify a Genre’s Purpose 

Exercise 1.4 Identify a Genre’s Purpose 

Pick one of the everyday genres you encounter often. Answer the following questions: 

  1. What does this genre address? What problem does this genre seek to fix? 
  2. How do you know, based solely on the document you’re reading? 

Multimedia Exercise 1.3: Identify an Online Author’s Purpose

Pick one of the online genres you read everyday (such as a blog or social network feed). Answer the questions in Exercise 1.4: 

  1. What does this genre address? What problem does this genre seek to fix? 
  2. How do you know, based solely on the document you’re reading? 
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