Shout out to Deborah Brandt for bringing power to a very important concept in literacy: sponsors of literacy.
Brandt covers three specific cases in her piece, appropriately titled “Sponsors of Literacy” in which she tokens the term for readers everywhere. This piece depicts that literacy is a concept instilled on us by means of all types: distant or local, abstract or concrete, whether to sponsor or restrict literacy.
This got me (and the whole class) thinking about where our own literary journey started and who helped write it along the way. With the help of my colorful visual aid above I will be giving a little detail into those important characters that have sponsored my literacy.
On one side of the sponsor spectrum are my parents who I can’t say pushed me to be literate or created standards for me, but supported my curiosity and never let there be a wall between myself and whatever I requested in order to expand my literary knowledge. Before preschool began I asked my mother to teach me my alphabet and how to write and by the time I was in first grade I had my mother buying me pretend hardcover books so I could write my own stories in them or bringing home children geared newspapers home from work so that i could time myself while reading large words and intricate sentences while still retaining the information.
The opposite side boasts a more restrictive side of sponsorship. Schools (my middle school comes to ind in particular) had a reputation for designating what was worth while to read and what was too traditional. The library did not carry a vast array of fiction and focused more on nonfiction readings. One can only imagine my excitement when I found out the public library was completely free and would order in books upon request. Even the library was seen as a local, concrete sponsor of my literacy.