Creative Personal Essay Reading Script

Assignment Content

This assignment provides practice to analyze audio in order to determine clues in writing on how the reader should read the content.

Refer to This American Life Archive by Contributor, Sarah Vowell and the Reading Script Instructions.


Listen to one of the radio essays read aloud by author Sarah Vowell. Alternately, if there is another radio essayist you find particularly effective, you may listen to an example of that author’s work, with facilitator approval.


As you listen, pay particular attention to pauses, as well as changes in volume, speed, emphasis, and vocal tone, and consider how these oral reading techniques add meaning to the written word. Additionally, consider how the written text may provide hints or clues about which of these oral techniques should be used.


Write a 525-word creative personal essay intended to be read aloud using the radio essay and the readings for this week as a model or inspiration. Use the topic approved by your facilitator in Wk 1, and incorporate at least one mini-scene with dialogue (a line or two is sufficient) and scene description. Insert at least three bracketed cues for someone reading your essay aloud, indicating vocal techniques or changes that would add meaning to your piece.


Write a 300-word reflection paper on your creative personal essay. Discuss how you adapted the techniques identified in your chosen radio essay in your creative personal essay. Include the following:

The influence of listening to Sarah Vowell’s radio essay (or the recording of your selected essay) on your writing
Your goals for the essay, including your choice of topic and writing style
How the bracketed reading cues you added are intended to alter or enhance the mood or meaning of the essay


Format your assignment according to appropriate course-level APA guidelines.

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