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Essay Contest

Summer Reading Program

Essay Contest

The Summer Reading Program Committee is sponsoring an essay writing contest for the 2013 freshman class. All first year students are eligible to submit essays. Essays will be read and evaluated by members of the Summer Reading Program Committee. The winner of the contest will be invited to have dinner with John Wood on September 10, 2013 and will be given a $100 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble bookstore. 

Essay Question

essay 2013

Literacy positions us in a place of privilege that allows us to function in powerful institutions and transform them. John Wood’s work attempts to empower people through literacy by providing them with the basic tools they need to learn to read and write.  The essay question asks you to construct a personal literacy history. Literacy histories identify the familial, cultural, economic, and political contexts that shape writers/readers/learners. Your literacy history must tell a personal story that makes a point about who you are as a reader/writer/learner. A winning essay will tell a descriptive story of either a single literacy experience or a series of experiences or memories that are linked together thematically. The following questions will help you generate ideas. 

What kinds of writing or reading took place in your home? Who taught you to read or write? What kinds of reading materials did you have in your home and who read each? Were there any values attached to the various reading materials? Were there physical spaces in the home designated for reading, writing, or homework? How did you and your family fit into the socio/economic and cultural fabric of your community and how did this intersect with academics?  hat role, if any, did the public library play in your life? Describe the first character with whom you identified, from whom you learned gender roles, or whom you admired. How were your experiences with writing, reading, or speaking in your home similar to or different from those experiences in school? What is the first thing you remember writing? What were your experiences with writing or reading that were not for school, such as note-passing, texting, graffiti, underground newspapers, blogs, etc.? What role do reading and writing play in your life now? How do you think your literacy experiences will impact your ability to be successful in college?

Technical Guidelines for Submission

  • 3 double-spaced typed pages, 12 pt. font standard font, 1” margins
  • MLA citation format as needed
  • Cover page with the title “Summer Reading Program Essay Contest Submission,” your Banner ID, and the date.  (Please omit name.)
  • Staple all pages together at the top left hand corner.
  • Submit 3 copies of your essay to Elisabeth Gonzalez, room B-10 Cooper Hall,  by September 5, 2013 at 4 p.m.

Last Updated 5/28/13

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