Shree Ray 1 Professor Jan Riemann English 1103 January 31, 2011


During the process of writing this paper, I first used an outline to assist me in organizing my thought process. I included sponsors as well as missing sponsors and literacies that I had wish that I had. I really enjoyed writing this paper, because just as the title indicates, it was almost a small stroll down my literacy lane. I want to further detail my paper and have a lot more flowing concepts in it. A Stroll Down Literacy Lane “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Dr.Seuss). One of the most well known writers of my times, Dr.Seuss, could be considered a prodigy, and much more than a sponsor to many children. In my case, it is just that. From the second I could make out shapes and pictures, I ran around with any book of his. Each individual has their own set of people, ideas and events that serve as a sponsor, whether it be temporary or lifelong. Deborah Brandt defines a sponsor of literacy most eloquently in her essay “Sponsors of Literacy”: 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). This definition encompasses most every aspect of sponsorship there is to any literacy. To fully comprehend how these sponsors contribute and influence people of all ages, it is important to know Ray 2 exactly what literacy is. Literacy is defined as “fluency in a given practice.”(Brandt 407). There is more than one type of literacy. There are literacies of religion, science, music, math, computer, reading, writing, gaming, and many more. After examining what literacy actually means, it is easier to see how such literacies can be sponsored in many different ways. There are plenty of examples, which I have studied, that show sponsors of literacy to be objects and circumstances rather than people. For example, Malcolm X was not mainly sponsored by a person, but rather by his circumstance in having to sit in jail all day long. This brought him to start reading the dictionary and reading books continuously. Not only was it the environment of the jail, but also, his determination to express his feelings. He was extremely frustrated at his lack of vocabulary to communicate through letters with outsiders, and this itself served as a sponsor in his case. While Malcolm X was forced to teach himself because of his frustration, Sherman Alexie taught himself on the basis of enjoyment. Alexie was of Indian descent and learned to read from

Superman comics. The Superman comic was a sponsor for him, as well as the inspiration he received from his father. The combination of the two sponsors resulted in the great writer that Alexie is today.

After analyzing what Brandt defines as sponsors of literacy, I decided that I had my very own definition. People or events that encourage or discourage one from furthering themselves in anything from education to special talents, are essentially what sponsors of literacy mean to me. From ever since I can remember, certain people in my family have been helping me learn things from recognizing Ray 3 pictures, to learning how to spell. In the definition of sponsors of literacy, Brandt mentions that the sponsor somehow benefits from their sponsorship. At a first glance I disagreed because I thought about how my parents did not gain anything from teaching me how to read. But after I looked into the definition more, I realized that this benefit did not have to be materialistic. In the case of parents or family members, the benefit can be something as sly as just the delight or the content feeling of watching their child succeed in reading. From the day I was born, until the day I die, I will always have sponsors coming and going in one way or another. But there are some sponsors that show consistency in my life. My mother and grandmother have always been literacy sponsors. Whether it be teaching me how to spell when I was a child, or how to write in

Gujurati, the language of the culture I come from, they always helped me to increase my confidence in myself. Even though my mom did not know much English when I was first in school, she would sit down with me on my dining room table and do the best to her ability to help me. This was beyond a literacy sponsor, but also more of a sponsor of confidence. My grandmother sponsors my multicultural literacy. She helped me learn more about the Indian culture and language by always speaking to me in Gujurati. It was a difficult experience, but it was something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. I am still learning new things every time I spend time with my family, expanding my knowledge so I can share with others. Also, at a very young age, I was diagnosed with a cleft palate. This kind of medical difficulty lead me to being appalling at speech. I was a smart child, but was Ray 4 frustrated with not being able to say particular letters or words correctly, making it problematical for others to understand me. For this problem, my mother would take me to a speech therapist almost daily from the day I turned one until my speech was almost perfect. My speech therapist gave me so much more than I could thank her for. She allowed me not only to be fluent with the art of speech, but also allowed me to express my feelings without holding back. Along side with my speech therapist, books were my favorite sponsors at a young

age. My therapist would read me books, which I would later check out from the library and try to read myself. There are plenty of memories that I have of myself pretending to be a teacher in a class, reading a book aloud to all my children. Books particularly like Dr.Seuss or Winnie the Pooh were my favorites. I would say that these were my most fond childhood sponsors. As the definition of sponsors of literacy states, sponsors must have a beneficial reasoning for contributing their knowledge down to others. In my case, I suppose that my speech therapist was merely getting paid for it, but I felt like we created a bond by the end of the whole process, and eventually she had become to be a mother figure in my life. My grandmother and mother contributed their knowledge to me so that they could be proud and take credit for giving me such a great variety of knowledge. As I grew older, sponsors became more available to my taste, and also became more aware of the knowledge I could gain. Teachers were my first sponsors I think made the biggest difference in my earlier years. They constantly were teaching me something new. The teacher I believe who gave me the most knowledge Ray 5 was a teacher in high school who really did not focus on grading or go by the lines. He instead focused on group discussions and opinions. Through this class I learned about history and philosophy, which are the two most important concepts needed to cope with society. There

were other teachers who were more repressive. In these classes, I was forced to follow a cookie-cutter path to write papers or essays. There was no room for creativity or expansion. The main idea of the class was merely to pass, and to do this, taking risks of trying something more challenging was discouraged. My second most influential sponsors during this period of time were my friends and colleagues. Being an International Baccalaureate student at my school, the students in that program grew very close on an intellectual level. During lunch, we would often start a debate, and during these debates I learned a ton of new materials. Sometimes though, these friends might provide wrong information as a sponsor just to limit their competition and any threats to them being on the top. My last, and most recent sponsor to literacy is not a person or an idea, but rather a circumstance. With a rough past, and a even rougher present, I decided that no matter what I have been through up until now will not affect my future. Particularly starting this semester, Spring 2011, I have let nothing but a great run outdoors get in the way of me working on my school work or reading in any spare time. This experience is my biggest and most prominent sponsor yet. The influences of the sponsors who donated their time and efforts to me were innumerable. I was exposed to the ability to impress people with my Ray 6

multicultural and multilingual talents as well as gaining much knowledge during school about a variety of topics. Because of these sponsors, today I can further my education up to any level I feel comfortable. I finally have the ability to make something of my self, in reference to a career or personal goal. Although I feel as if these sponsors have helped me incredibly, and are much more than I should ask for, I feel like at times I lacked the correct sponsorship. Sometimes I wish that I had an older brother or sister to help me through homework or concepts that my parents could not. Other times, I wish that I had someone to help me with my SAT prep, so that I could have possibly gotten into a better college. I missed out on a lot of opportunities to become literate in different areas, but I also gained opportunities that not many other people obtain, such as getting taught how to read and write Gujurati so fluently. Despite all these regrets, I am still happy with what I stand with today, and hope to be a literacy sponsor, big or small, to many more people.

Shree, I’m glad that you address the idea of missing sponsorships and what access you wished you’d had but didn’t. I think that most of us can think of literacies we wish we had. You do a great job here of orienting your literacy narrative in the

conversation we’ve been reading about and having in class that has come out of our readings. You also clearly define both sponsors and literacies early on to give your reader a clear

idea of what you are exploring. What I’d love to see you focus on in revision is this idea of organization and how you choose to structure your paper. Think about the purpose of each of your paragraphs, keeping in mind that you may want each of them to address one topic and that you want to move your reader from one point to the next. As I read, some of your paragraphs felt too full to me and I wanted more distinction between various ideas. Here’s a hopefully helpful link detailing paragraph development: Please let me know what questions you have.

Hi Dr. Rieman, I appreciate your comments and feedback. I hope to add more details to my missed sponsorship and make my paper flow more. I want to rearrange some of my paragraphs, and just add more flowing concepts. I have already made most changes, but hope to make more before turning this in.

Ray 7 Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman, and Nancy J. Peterson. Conversations with Sherman Alexie. Jackson: University of Mississippi, 2009. Print. Brandt, Deborah. "Sponsors of Literacy." The Sponsors of Literacy. Albany, NY: National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1997. 407. Print. Geisel, Theodor S. "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! | Dr. Seuss Books | Seussville." Dr. Seuss | Web. 04 Feb. 2011. < isbn=9780394839127>. Gunderson, Jessica, and Seitu Hayden. X: the Biography of Malcolm X. Mankato, MN: Graphic

Library, 2011. Print.

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