THEME: Language and Literacy

English 100: In-class essay assignment (T/Th schedule) Chapters 41, 29, 35
Pip Gordon, instructor
You may use any of the following eight readings in your answer. Your answer MUST
include reference to at least three texts from this list. You do not need to quote from these
texts directly, but you need to demonstrate that you’ve read and understand them.
Marjorie Agosin, “Always Living in Spanish”
Tanya Barrientos, “Se Habla Espanol”
Alison Bechdel, “The Canary-Colored Caravan of Death”
Richard Bullock, “How I Learned the Power of Writing”
Malcolm X, “Literacy Behind Bars”
Marina Nemat, “The Secondhand Bookseller”
Shannon Nichols, “Proficiency”
Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”
Answer ONE of the following questions:
1.) Why does literacy matter? Use at least three of the above texts to discuss the
importance of literacy.
2.) What does it mean to attain literacy or to be literate? Pick three texts from the list
above that show different understandings of what it means to be literate. Explain as best
you can how each text presents a different kind of literacy.
3.) What are the features common to all literacy narratives? Use at least three of the
above texts to discuss the features of literacy narratives that make literacy narratives
different from other writing genres.
Learning Outcomes: To develop skills in timed writing, namely in relation to the
writing process. Students will need to brainstorm, develop, and draft responses to a
question in a timed setting modeled after exam essays the students will take in other
Audience: Your audience is a college professor who is evaluating your understanding of
assigned readings for class.
Purpose: To develop an idea relatively quickly and organize that idea into a rough draft
with few grammatical/mechanical errors in approximately 45 minutes. Also, to
demonstrate an understanding of the general themes of the assigned readings and to
demonstrate an ability to put those readings into conversation with each other to produce
new ideas.
Format: Handwritten in a blue book. Please write legibly. Also, please write on every
other line. Students may use the first page in their bluebooks for brainstorming and may
write on the front or back of the sheets in their blue book as it suits.
Assessment: The in-class essay assignment is worth 5 % of your final grade. The
assignment will be scored out of 100 points.
Your essay will be assessed both on your ability to write a clear, reasonably error free,
full essay. Also, you will be assessed by how well you apply ideas from the readings to
explain your responses to the question you chose.
Calendar/Process/Due Date:
Thursday, September 9: Final day on summary assignment. Devote at least half the class
to in-class essay. Students will have read the chapter on “Taking Essay Exams” for class.
Tuesday, September 14: Students will have read for class Tanya Barrientos, “Se Habla
Espanol” and Alison Bechdel, “The Canary-Colored Caravan of Death” Summary
Assignment Due on this day at the beginning of class.
Thursday, September 16: Students will have read for class Malcolm X, “Literacy Behind
Bars,” Marina Nemat, “The Secondhand Bookseller,” and Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue.”
Class will begin with discussion of these readings. The last 50 minutes of class will be for
the in-class writing assignment. Students must be given 45 minutes to complete the in-
class writing assignment. This means 45 minutes of writing time, in addition to any

To top