Select the most powerful textual evidence you can find to prove your claim.

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Nov 8, 2022


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As Ta-Nehisi Coates does in the excerpt from Between the World and Me, “Letter to My Son,” as well as Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Coming into Language” and Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” (to name just a few), write a 5-7-page (plus a works cited page) essay that explores an experience with literacy (any story or stories from your life having to do with your experiences with reading or writing). You can feel free to connect this narrative to literary activism (any way in which someone uses writing to change the world—even in little ways), although you don’t have to. For example, maybe your struggle to learn to read is what led to your volunteering as a reading tutor for underserved first grade students. You will need to draw a connection between your own story of reading and writing and at least one of the readings we have done this semester. Feel free to reference more, of course. You will also need to use a minimum of three sources (found by searching the SFC library website). These could be articles or book chapters on literacy (reading or writing) and/or on the reading from this semester that you chose to write on, for example. Make sure that you read the whole source and use it thoughtfully in your paper, analyzing quotes, etc.
Essay Requirements:
Introduction: Hook your readers (perhaps by taking us into an exemplary textual moment) and then raise the problem or question you have been considering concerning the text(s) you wish to discuss. Offer an answer to the question (i.e. your main claim).
Consider the context of the text(s): How does the historical or cultural context help to shed light on your claim?
Textual support for your thesis. Select the most powerful textual evidence you can find to prove your claim. Provide context, quotation/ paraphrase and analysis for each instance from the text. Papers that describe the texts in general terms without substantial close reading of specific passages/moments won’t be successful. Make sure to analyze each quote.
Incorporate the views of at least four scholarly critics with whom you agree or disagree, but whose ideas allow you to deepen your argument. Summarize their positions and quote/paraphrase where necessary. You must engage with their ideas. In other words, summarize and respond to their arguments, rather than just dropping in an occasional quoted phrase or sentence.
Conclusion: Close your paper by answering this question: “Why does this claim matter?” Avoid redundant statements; reserve a gem (something specific, interesting, and memorable—an observation, question, or quotation, say) for this point in your paper. Rather than merely restating your introduction, write about the larger implications of your argument, the “so what.” Why does your argument matter in the larger scheme of things?
Read this link because I would like to use this story to connect it to my story of reading and writing:
I will provide you my first paragraph essay to give you an idea or background of what my essay should look like.


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