Questions for Reading Alexander (608-14)

Spend at least 90 minutes composing, revising, and editing answers to the following 4 questions. Wiht the exception of question 4, your answers should read like mini-essays, so you will need to incorporate part of the questions in your answers. You’ll likely need to use TRIAC and Barclay’s formula paragraphs. To receive homework completion credit, post them on your ePortfolio on a post called “Reading Alexander.

  1. Alexander refers to the “literacy success story” as a cultural narrative that many student writers borrow from in their own literacy narratives. How does Alexander explain the appeal of this particular narrative? Which, if any, of the Rising Cairn stories you’ve sampled conform to this narrative? Provide support for your answer in the form of details from at least two narratives. If none of the samples you read conform to the narrative, skim 3 or 4 more to see if there are any in Rising Cairn; report on your findings.
  2. The “literacy success story” is an example of what Alexander and others call a “master narrative.” Use direct quotation to define “master narrative,” then paraphrase Alexander’s explanation of why the master narrative she calls the “literacy success story” is problematic, both for students writing them, and for researchers interested in understanding literacy (PRO TIP: if you’re having trouble finding the passages where Alexander explains why the literacy success story is problematic, pay attention to her use of pivotal words and voice markers. Look for pivotal words that signal contrast and change and voice markers that signal her disapproval of the master narrative she calls the “literacy success story”).
  3. Alexander suggests that “little narratives” offer alternatives for representing one’s literacy experiences. What are “little narratives”? What kinds of people tend to write them? Why are “little narratives” useful for students and literacy researchers? Find at least two examples in your sample of Rising Cairn stories and summarize them here. What makes them “little narratives” in your view?
  4. Make a list of the questions Alexander poses and compare them to our emerging list of global and local questions. Take note of which questions help us to locate master narratives in Rising Cairn and which might guide us towards little narratives.