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Sponsors of Literacy Draft 3

Sponsors of Literacy Draft 3

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Published by: Nichole Buchanan on Dec 07, 2010
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Buchanan 1 Nichole Buchanan Professor Jan Rieman English 1103 December 6, 2010 My Path to Literacy Looking back and

remembering how I learned to read and write, I think, “Well, that’s obvious. I went to school of course.” But digging deeper and trying to find the real source of my literacy, I question who or what exactly taught me and supported me to read, write, construct meaning through those processes and apply that knowledge elsewhere? Those people or objects are known as my sponsors of literacy. Sponsors of literacy are “any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy-and gain advantage by it in some way” (Brandt 407). I’ve had access to literacy for as long as I can remember with many supporters, both animate and inanimate along the way. Early in my life, my parents had always been my main supporters. They bought me books, computer games, Hooked on Phonics workbooks, and anything else you can think of to teach me to read and write before I even started school. I remember as a child having an endless amount of books. Even when I didn’t exactly know how to read, I would pick up a book and make up stories from what I saw in the pictures. Little by little, I could eventually make out a few words and before I knew it, I was reading entire books. I was so excited about learning to read, that I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. A favorite of mine when I was first learning to read was Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read that book and to this day I

Buchanan 2 can recite lines from it. I can also remember how enjoyable car rides were. I would read out loud all the signs and billboards we drove past. I read so much, I’m sure my parents were beginning to get annoyed. Even if it was a little irritating, they never discouraged it. At that stage in my life, nothing was more exciting than learning a new word. I thought I knew everything! I was really big on playing computer games called “Jump Start” that had spelling games and made learning even more fun. One of my favorite games in the Jump Start series was a cooking game. I was to read the ingredients and cooking directions and create a dish within the given time. By playing that game, I learned how to read measurement abbreviations. I used that knowledge of learning to read cooking directions and measure out ingredients to help my mother cook meals in real life. My parents also supplied me with plenty of workbooks that taught me how to spell out words and use them correctly in sentences. I think I found a lot more enjoyment out of reading and writing than most children my age. I was just so fascinated with books and eager to learn how to read at a very young age and I think I owe that to my parents, who where constantly there to support me and provide me with access to books and learning devices. Although my parents were my main supporters, my teachers in school were a major part of my literacy as well. As I moved from school to school over the years, each school provided me with access to a library full of books and computers. There were designated days each week where we would go to the library and computer lab as a class. We kept a reading log where we took note of what we read and how long we read for each night. At this point, reading was still enjoyable to me so reading every night was something I looked forward to. There were so many choices of what we could read and we were encouraged to read anything we could such as: books, poems, magazines,

Buchanan 3 newspapers, online articles, etc. We were also expected to write a short story or response daily. Usually we were given a prompt or on other occasions we could write about anything we wanted. In elementary school, my writing skills began to develop. Sometimes the prompt would be a little boring, so without even realizing what I was doing I experimented with fabricating my writing a little. Occasionally we were able to share our writings in class and I jumped on every opportunity to do so since I loved telling stories. Another activity I participated in from elementary to middle school was the Accelerated Reader program. Students were required to read books on a point system based on difficulty and how well you did on quizzes after the book was completed. As your points added up, there were different rewards given to students that met certain point ranges. This reward system encouraged students in a fun way to read more and challenge them to read difficult books. I enjoyed a little competition and always tried to get the most points by the end of the month so I could choose a prize from the treasure chest. I’d say the reward system definitely worked in persuading me to challenge myself with tougher books. As I reached high school, reading and writing wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. We began having to read specific books not by choice, that I highly doubt any of my peers would have picked up and read in their leisure time either. Reading became more of a chore rather than something enjoyable. This is where my pleasure of reading and writing went downhill. Everything was so structured and there was little room for creativity. We weren’t assigned to write imaginative stories anymore. Instead, everything was to be written as a formal essay, which is definitely no fun at all. Throughout high school, the only escape I had from this bland, structured writing was a creative writing

Buchanan 4 class I took my sophomore year. I had a wonderful teacher, who pushed us to write outside of how we were so accustomed to writing. She inspired me to find my love for reading and writing again and showed us how to read things in a different light. She taught us how to read poetry and find that there could be a variety of meanings for one poem. I wish that this type of class was offered every year of high school. That way other students wouldn’t lose enjoyment out of writing and reading. Unfortunately, my feelings for reading and writing are a bit pessimistic since high school. It’s become such a drag and I’ve grown so tired of having to read books I don’t enjoy and writing formal essays about things I don’t really care about. I really hope to get back into the swing of reading again for fun. I definitely miss being able to pick up a book and not put it down until I’m completely finished with it. Over the years, I’ve had my ups and downs with reading and writing. I found so much enjoyment out of it as a child and I owe that to my parents and teachers who I feel were my most important sponsors of literacy. They supported me throughout my years and never discouraged me to expand my understanding of reading and writing. I’m very thankful that I took advantage of the books, computers and other literary components I had access to or I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have today.

Buchanan 5 Works Cited Brandt, Deborah. “Sponsors of Literacy.” Writing about Writing: A College Reader. Eds. Wardle and Downs. Boston: Bedford, 2011. 406-26. Print.

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