Family Literacy Assignment for Freshman Composition

[Typically, I ask my students in freshman composition to write about education and literacy and to place their own family history into a broader social context. This assignment also asks them to conduct research in a way that is often new to them, breaking them out of the ‘library’ or ‘internet’ rut they may have developed in high school. Please feel free to use this in any way that you like. I would love to hear about it, too, so if you do find this page useful drop me a line [jamesraywatkins at gmail.com] or leave a comment below.]

In this exercise you will explore the educational aims, goals, and achievements of your family across three generations in order to gain some insight into what you bring to the table when you come to college. Again, our goal this semester is to try to understand what it means to be a literate member of the middle class. To further this process, you will gather facts and information by asking questions of your family members, and then carefully and accurately recording their responses.

When interviewing, your job is to elicit information without interrupting, and then to fairly report what you have found. Similarly, when reporting on your own literate behavior and educational goals, you must be concise, accurate, and nonjudgmental. Finally, in Stage Two, you can reflect on your findings and attempt what we can call an hypothesis about your cultural capital. Are you in a good position to succeed in college, given all of this background? In what sense? If not, what can you do about it? As we proceed through the semester, of course, you may want to return to this information and explore how your ideas have or have not changed. Use the following outline to move step by step towards completion of the assignment.

I. Stage One: Fact Gathering and Interviews

A. Educational achievement of grandparents and parents

1. Interviews with two parents/guardians/adults who knew you as a child.

a) Why did they / did they not go to college?
c) Either way, what do they believe is the value of education?
d) What is the importance of reading and writing in their lives?
e) What do they remember of your literate practices as a child?

2. Interviews with two grandparents/guardians/adults who knew you as a child:

a) Why did they / did they not go to college?
c) Either way, what do they believe is the value of education?
d) What is the importance of reading and writing in their lives?
e) What do they remember of your literate practices as a child?

B. Your own literacy

1. What reading do you routinely do now?
2. Why are you going to college?

II. Stage Two: Report

Summarize your findings in a succinct, 1200-word essay, including as a conclusion whatever discoveries you have made, and, if relevant, your new or refined sense of educational purposes, etc. Although this clearly suggests a narrative format, you are free to use whatever format that will suit your purposes.

4 Thoughts on “Family Literacy Assignment for Freshman Composition

  1. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, as well as the content!

  3. I just want to mention I am new to blogging and site-building and absolutely loved this web page. Likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You really come with amazing writings. Kudos for revealing your blog.

  4. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However just imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this site could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche. Very good blog! Please take a look this: Cách chọn rèm cửa sổ đẹp đẹp nhất?

Leave a Reply