Guide’s Writing a Literacy Narrative Essay + Example

Writing an essay is both a test of creativity and language skills. Depending on the type of essay you are writing, you could be required to argue a point, tell a story, or give information about some issues, events, or persons. A narrative essay is personal and not argumentative, and there are various types. One of the commonest types of narrative essays written by students is the literacy narrative essay.

What is a Literacy Narrative Essay?

A literacy narrative essay is an essay specifically written to share the impact and gains of reading and writing. A literacy narrative essay is like a personal narrative essay in that it relays a personal opinion on the benefits of literacy. It requires the writer to share their experience concerning reading and writing. For example, a literacy narrative essay could be a retelling of a story from the essayist’s point of view.

A literacy narrative essay shows your relationship with reading, writing, and language in general. It allows you to think back to your earliest experiences with literacy skills and how they helped to shape you. For example, you could be asked to relate how you felt when you could finally read a whole text yourself. This type of essay will help you relive the experience and probably recall those who helped you get to that point.

Literacy Narrative Examples

While literacy narrative essays are relatively easy to write, finding a suitable topic to write on may prove quite the opposite. Here we have provided some examples of literacy narrative topics you can write on.

Literacy Narrative

Part 1

In the following essay, I would like to talk in detail about my personal experiences and how they have shaped me as a writer. When I write, I prefer telling stories. In fact, where I come from (West Africa), story telling is a popular tool of teaching young people about the different sides of life. This is something that the child gets accustomed to early on. The child is told stories by his/her parents as soon as she learns how to walk. This tradition practically shapes one’s whole life.

Let me explain, in my family (and in the families of my friends, in the place where I grew up) it is common practice to gather in the evening around the dinner table and tell each other stories. Not only at the dinner table, but basically anywhere in the house. It could be a fire place or the garden, if it is summertime. In my family, the tradition of telling stories was quite strong.

I remember those warm summer nights when our whole family (including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and so on) gathered on the porch. Grandma and grandpa would tell us stories from their youth. Furthermore, we (the children) would learn from adults stories of how they met, the funny and difficult situations that they encountered in life; these stories were sometimes very sad and other times hilarious. At the end of these “therapeutic sessions,” as I like to call them, we all felt relaxed and deeply satisfied. You see, I felt that these stories worked as a sort of glue. They connected us as a family on a rather deep level.

Another important thing that I would like to focus on is that in my home environment children were encouraged to tell their stories as well. As soon as they learned how to talk, adults would approach them just like they would approach another adult, asking (for instance): “Tell me, how did your day (activity) go?” Growing up, I spent much time with my grandmother. I remember how she would ask me questions about myself, how my day went, and what I felt. She showed interest in my stories, which made me feel noticed and special. In fact, this is one of the deepest forms of respect that I know — caring for another person’s feelings. Every individual’s life is a story infused with emotions and feelings. This is why sharing stories with each other is so important. This way, we get to know another person and open up ourselves to them; thus, we are brought closer. Moreover, when we are listened to, we feel special. The feeling of importance and significance is the most precious thing that we can give to anybody. When a child feels important early on in life, he/she learns to value not only himself/herself, but also others.

Therefore, in my writing (and as a writer) I am most fascinated by the story-based narrative. I find it very familiar and exciting. When the reader encounters a story which has a clear beginning, middle, and an ending, he/she remains focused the whole time. Therefore, my background of story-telling and listening to others’ stories has taught me that any good story has a clear plot, is infused with emotions, and has a clear goal, which is rooted in a state of complete honesty.

Without complete honesty (in motives and feelings) the story will fail. The listener or reader feels that something is off and loses interest. Hence, when I write, I aim to tell stories that come from the heart; by this, I mean stories that keep one both focused and excited. In order to achieve this effect, the writer has to stay tuned into his/her inner core. The feelings and emotions that are expressed in the plot have to be genuine. The thing is, I have noticed that when I try to impress others in my speech and writing, they seem less than impressed. Yet, when I am completely natural and authentic, they remain focused and interested in my story the whole time.

Part 2

After reading the interview with Elaine Richardson, I could outline the following themes which impacted her development and growth as a writer. First of all, her mother had a significant impact on her writing. She takes great care to talk about her mother, describing her personal qualities, character, dreams, and background. In fact, I can empathize with this. Oftentimes, we are shaped by our caregivers. I would even say most times. In the case of Richardson, her mother had a substantial impact on her worldview as a writer.

Not only does one come to view the world through the prism of the ones he/she loves, but at a certain point in life we may resemble our loved ones to a great extent (in terms of personality and character). In particular, when we are loyal to somebody (emotionally), we focus deeply on that person. Of course, in some cases people may be shaped by social circumstances more than by their loved ones. Yet, in the case of Richardson, her mother had a decisive and crucial effect on her writing themes and topics. In the interview, Richardson shares with us that her mother read poetry and invested much time in educating her children. It is no wonder that Richardson’s focus is shifted so much to her mother’s personality and presence; in the interview, one can feel that she experiences a deep and loving bond with her mom.

Yet another experience which shaped Richardson’s worldview was her early pregnancy at the age of thirteen. She became pregnant, yet had an abortion, since she could not imagine giving her child away. In fact, given her deep bond with her own mother, I understand why it was unthinkable for her that she could give her child up for adoption. Nevertheless, abortions and early pregnancies can be deeply traumatizing experiences, especially for a young woman, a teenager. Richardson stresses that she knew (and her mother knew) that it was important to get a proper education. Hence, I could presume that an inner conflict persisted inside of Richardson’s mind. On the one hand, she had a deep connection with her mother; therefore, it must have been very difficult to abort her own child. On the other hand, her mother did menial labor and knew how difficult it was; she did not want her daughter to have a similar fate. In fact, the idea of being educated was put at the top of the priority list by Richardson’s mother. In the interview, she stresses that when she was falling apart psychologically, the things her mother told her (about the importance of getting an education) helped her overcome these difficulties.

Based on the interview, Richardson underwent some highly stressful events in her life. She was a mother, yet, at the same time, she was on drugs. Her drug addiction broke her into pieces. At the same time, she felt extremely guilty about “throwing away” all those opportunities that her parents fought for in the first place. In fact, she talks about her disengagement at school and how she flunked out of school. Yet, at the same time, she does talk about being an intellectual and having an academic perspective. Based on all that has been said, Richardson is a multifaceted and talented artist, writer, singer, etc. On the one part, her life experiences have supplied her with wit and depth. On the other part, her education and sharp intellect have given her the necessary tools for translating her passion and experience into various creative endeavors.


The literacy narratives of black columbus. (2010). Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, 4(1), pp. 133-157.

How to Write a Literacy Narrative Outline

Writing an essay is made easier when you first outline what you intend to write about. This outline serves as a map or guides for you to ensure that all necessary details are captured. Writing a literacy narrative essay especially requires writing out an outline to guide your writing. The outline should be divided into sections so that you can have a clear picture of what you need to write. The outline of a literacy narrative essay should include:

  • Introduction: this gives information on the reason for writing the essay. In this section, you should introduce the topic and the themes you would like to address within the essay. If the essay is about a novel you read, this would be the section to introduce the novel. You should give details such as the title, author, and possibly the genre of the novel.
  • Main Body: The body of a literacy narrative essay can include as many as three or more paragraphs. The number of paragraphs is determined by how much information you need to give in the essay or the word count requirement. If you are writing about a novel, the first paragraph of the body could give a brief synopsis of the novel and the other paragraphs, a deeper explanation of the novel. The essay’s body should be written with vivid descriptions so that the reader gets a feel of the book you are writing about. In writing content for the body of your essay, you should be careful not to make the paragraph too long. Before you start writing, it is good to write out the book’s important points and possibly divide them into paragraphs. Describe the emotions these important scenes evoked in you and how they shaped you. Although you are writing about a book, do not forget that your writing is somewhat like a review. Anyone reading your essay wants to see what you thought of the book and what emotions you felt while reading. So, you must relate only the parts that carried any iota of importance for you.
  • Conclusion: the concluding part of your essay should redirect the reader to why you wrote the essay. The lessons you learned, the emotions you discovered should be carefully pointed out as you conclude.

What are The Key Characteristics of a Narrative Essay?

Literacy narrative essays are generally aimed at sharing how reading and writing helped shape you. It is a good way to defend some philosophies and ideals you hold and to tell how you came about them. Literacy narrative topics allow you to share your memories, discoveries, challenges, etc., of reading, writing, and language in general. But, these can only be effectively shared if the main key features of a literacy narrative are included in your essay. And, they include.

  • A well-written story
  • Accurately described details
  • Essay Theme
  • Story setting and key people
  • A detailed explanation of the narrative’s significance
  • Plot and structure


Writing a literacy narrative is an opportunity to think back and relive some very important periods of your growth. It could also be instrumental in helping you face and reevaluate your present level regarding literacy. Aside from giving the teacher or assessor a perfect, well-sculptured essay, literacy narratives could also help a student rediscover lost passion.

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