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Courtney Moore ENC 1102: 10:30-11:20am January 20, 2014 Literacy narrative: Inspiration

Learning how to read and write in this day and age is a must in order to get an education and obtain and sustain a career. Many things have lead up to me learning to read when I was growing up. My knowledge of reading started with my mom and continued with my teachers as I succeeded through school. Throughout my life I’ve had many “sponsors” that have influenced me to learn to read. Sponsors, as Brandt explains in her literacy narrative, are powerful figures who bankroll events or smooth the way for initiates. (Brandt, 167). She also relays how sponsors help to organize and administer opportunity and access and can also enable and hinder literacy activity. (Brandt, 178). Deborah Brandt, an author of a literacy narrative titled, “Sponsors of Literacy,” explains that everyone in some way, shape, or form has someone in their life who has shaped the way they learn to read and write. This brings me to the central claim of my own literacy narrative which is through inspiration from my sponsors. My mom was probably the first and biggest sponsor and influence in my life when it came down to beginning to read. She was the one who before bed would read me a book that I picked out prior to bed time. She would help me as I sounded out words and did my best to read on my own. As a result, by the age of 4 I was reading books without much assistance. Around the time I was in 1st grade, we were assigned certain books depending on our reading level. The goal was to improve your reading skills so that you were able to move up to the higher, more complex books. One day after school my teacher gave me a book titled "Junie B. Jones" because she thought I might like it. I began to read the book and instantly became

engrossed. I started on page 1 and then suddenly I was turning to page 30. I couldn't take my eyes off of the pages. This new series I had become involved in was suddenly all I would think about reading and was what I looked forward to doing every day. The context and story line captured my attention which in turn further enhanced my reading skills and drive to read constantly and increase my reading level to new, longer, more complex chapter books. As time went on, I went from reading larger chapter books to intensifying my skills of writing. I’m not sure what it was but I had a very vivid imagination when it came to writing fictional stories. Narratives were my favorite because you had one topic and you could make up whatever story you wanted about it. I remember writing pages and pages for some stories with topics that I just took off and ran with. As a result of having such a vivid imagination, I would always come up with the most interesting, mind boggling stories. My teachers were impressed and many of my papers were hung up in the classroom for all to see and read. Writing, along with reading became a passion of mine. The more I read, the more I began to see what other authors would come up with for plots and how they would portray this conflict to the reader. After acknowledging this, I started to form my own ideas and my own scenarios that I found would be an interesting plot for my next short story. When it wasn’t my mom or teachers encouraging me to read or write, AR tests usually did the trick. AR testing is an online test you take after completing a book composed of approximately 10-15 questions about that book. In school, if you took a certain number of AR tests in a given time period you would receive a prize. Giving an incentive to students for doing well on their AR tests and having completed several of them inspired the students to read more books, thus, enhancing their literacy level.

To this day I enjoy reading fictional books because the story line and plot is what draws me into a book to the point where I can’t put it down. Without my mom reading to me as a child and guiding me into reading on my own, I probably would not have been able to be at such a high level when I eventually started school. Also, I’m grateful to my 1st grade teacher who introduced me to a new series of books that I went crazy for every time I found a new one in the bookstore. The Junie B. series was my first chapter books as a kid and they motivated to read on a higher level and broaden my literacy horizons to a much wider spectrum. When learning to read or write, I feel that something needs to encourage and inspire you to do so. Without any of those factors driving me to set a higher goal for myself I would have never been on a 12th grade reading level as a 4th grader. A reader needs to be driven to enhance the literacy skill and in a way, needs that subtle “push” from positive sponsors. Similar to the push I had from my positive sponsors being my mother, my teachers, and those AR tests.