Compositiion Assignment

Week 3: Autobiography and Literacy Narratives

For this assignment, you will write a 3-4 page narrative descriptive essay. Please read chapter 2 in St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. The chapter includes several examples of different narrative descriptive essays and ideas for invention of topics and drafting your topic. The beginning of the chapter explains the essay content and purpose. The second part of the chapter provides example essays and one that is annotated. The last section of the chapter includes ideas for drafting your essay and revising it. In addition, read the directions to the assignment so that you know the expectations. The rubric for evaluating your final essay is also located under assessments and click on rubric.

APA Sample Paper

Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here.

Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper

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Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.

However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in student style and one in professional style.

Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used “Track Changes” to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7.

Autobiography and Literacy Narratives


Given in-class discussion, exercises, notes and textbook readings, students will write an essay that describes people and events remembered.


The Autobiography and Literacy Narrative essay is often used to entertain an audience or to share an experience. Generally, the Autobiography and Literacy Narrative essay describes how people and events change based on a set of conditions. The audience for this essay would be classmates, family, and friends. The language is simple and only the most important details are described.


From a selection of personal experiences, think about a situation that has changed your perceptions of life or the way you view others. Tell a story using concrete images and descriptive language in a 3-4 page essay that includes narration and dialogue.

  • Use first person to narrate.
  • Give a clear indication about the significance of the event.
  • Choose an event that will engage readers.
  • Write descriptive prose and dialogue in active voice.
  • Select the best details to describe the event.

Here is a list of suggested topics:

  • Write about an event that changed your life.
  • Write about a time where you learned something new or something about yourself
  • Describe a personal challenge and how you dealt with it.
  • Describe a time when you were afraid.
  • Tell about a dare you were given.
  • Describe a time where you had to tell someone something difficult.

(You may also create your own topic.)

Format Requirements:

  • Use APA style to format the essay. APA style requires a cover page. See OWL Purdue for an example. 
  • Double-space your text.
  • Create a title that reflects the overall story.
  • Post your rough draft in the peer review discussion forum.
  • Make sure your rough draft is spell checked and proofed to the best of your ability.
  • Edit for correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Label your file lastname_descriptive narrative
  • Upload your final draft in the appropriate Assignment Box.
  • Be sure your uploaded file is a Microsoft Word document. Otherwise you may not receive detailed comments.

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