Overview of Unit One: Exploring Issues in Language and Literacy

In Unit One you will explore issues in language and literacy by reflecting on personal experiences with language and literacy, reading and responding to the work of other authors who address language and literacy issues, and developing an extended essay that focuses on one issue in language and literacy.

The Unit begins with a brief reflection essay about an experience you have had with language and literacy. The Personal Literacy Reflection assignment is designed to focus your thinking about how language and literacy have shaped your life in some way. This essay is followed by a series of responses to essays written by other authors, culminating in a focused Response Essay that you write about one of the essays you've read. The Unit concludes with the Public Literacy Essay, the major assignment for this Unit.

Unit One begins with the focus on a particular event in your life, expands that focus to your reactions to a single essay written by another author, and then further expands the focus to your response to arguments and observations made by several authors. In the Public Literacy Essay you will use your experiences -- writing about personal experience and responding to individual authors -- to explore a larger issue or question about language and literacy. Essentially, we are asking you to expand your focus from individual events and arguments to a general issue being discussed by a community of authors.

Your goals in this Unit are to familiarize yourself with some of the issues debated by authors who write about language and literacy, to gain an understanding of the techniques and skills used by writers engaged in that debate, and to hone your general writing skills. Some of the skills you'll focus on in this Unit include:

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