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Overall Goals of the Assignment: This is the first in a series of assignments that you will work on in CO150. This essay asks you to build on skills that you bring to the course. We expect you to have experience writing a narrative and reflecting on personal experience. This assignment builds on those skills and asks you to concentrate on improving some specific areas. First, we want you to be able to make a clear point in your essay. Your point -- a main idea or a dominant impression about an experience related to literacy or about your experience reading or writing a particular text -- is the reason why you are telling us your story. We're interested in the effect this experience had on you. For instance, did it change the way you looked at language, at the world, or at yourself? Second, we want you to practice a variety of technique to develop your essay. These techniques might include figurative language, use of dialogue, or appeals to the senses, among others.

A Note on the Topic for this Course: We're intersted in how our experiences with language, as a group, are similar and different. We want to get you to recognize that, although each of us has had important experiences with language, those experiences vary greatly across a group of people. Some of you will share similar experiences, while others will have had experiences that are unlike those of your classmates.

We also want you to discover that you already know a great deal about the topic that we're going to explore throughout the semester: language and culture. You may be skeptical about studying one topic for a semester-long writing class. However, language is the subject of this course, just as biology or history or sociology would be the subject of other courses that you take at the University. Our decision to focus on the topic of language is based on our understanding that, to improve as a writer, writers need to understand how language and culture shape the decisions they make about the texts that they write.

Many writing teachers present writing as a "topic-free" discipline, that is, as simply a set of skills. However, writing instruction has its roots in rhetoric, which has been practiced and taught for millenia. CO150 builds on this rhetorical tradition by treating language itself as an area worthy of careful study.

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