Audio Literacy Narrative

Steph Ceraso
Seminar in Composition: Education
Spring 2011
Course Blog



Using open source audio editing software called Audacity (or GarageBand/SoundBooth/other audio programs that you might be familiar with and prefer), script, record, revise, edit, and reflect on your own 4 to 7 minute audio literacy narrative. Be sure to label and separately save all drafts of your scripts (do no write over older word documents).

As the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, says, literacy narratives (broadly conceived), are the kinds of stories that describe how you came to understand a particular literacy practice from your own past (or present):

This collection might include a story about learning to read cereal boxes and a story about learning to write plays. Some people will want to record their memories about the bedtime stories their parents read to them, the comics they looked at in the newspaper, or their first library card. Others will want to tell a story about writing a memorable letter, leaning how to write on a computer or taking a photograph; reading the Bible, publishing a ‘zine’, or sending an e-mail message.

Though literacy narratives often take the form of a traditional essay or a video, for this particular project, your task will be to relate your story using only sound. Here are some prompts from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives website to help you start generating some ideas for your own narrative. We will spend several weeks scripting, recording, workshopping, revising, editing, and reflecting on these projects.

In short, your challenge will be to:

1. engage your listeners
2. exploit the affordances of audio (don’t simply add sound because you can; choose sounds purposefully)
3. incorporate a reflective or critical element
4. convey the appropriate tone and emotion with your voice
5. figure out how to relate your story in a rich, detailed way within the time
constraints (in other words, you’re going to need to make some choices about
content here; notice how the form of the audio essay will shape the content of your narrative)
give your story exigency, purpose


Respond to the following questions about your personal audio literacy narrative:

1. How has the process of audio composing been similar or different from the process of composing a solely textual essay?
2. How (specifically) does your story add to or complicate our understanding of literacy?
3. What is the purpose of your story? Who would care about it and why?