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Tenesia Sealey

Professor Jan Rieman

English 1103

January 31, 2011

I think I did well explaining how I learned to read and who taught me to

read and write. I had a difficult time figuring out how to word the section

about the adequacy of my sponsors and the access I had to different

materials. I also have trouble with introductions and conclusions on my

papers. I realized after peer review that I forgot an important piece of the

prompt in my rough draft. In addition to tweeking my paper, I had to add that

part too.

Sponsors of Literacy, Sponsors of Life

Deborah Brandt defines sponsors as “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.” I agree with her in that sponsors help you to reach a

certain point. In my case, this essay is about sponsors who supported me in my strive for literacy,

fluency in a given practice. When I think of a good example of someone who had many sponsors

of literacy to help them become who they are, I think of Malcolm X. His essay about literacy and

his sponsors meant a lot to me. Our circumstances for learning how to read and write were very

different; however, the importance of being literate has had great impacts on both of our lives.

Malcolm X was forced to teach himself how to read and write in prison, but he had help along

the way with sponsors that came into his life. While he had sponsors such as Mr. Elijah
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Muhammad and even the prisoners in the prison he was in, my sponsors were my parents

combined with teachers who helped teach me what I know now. Although I had many more

opportunities because of my parents who have been major supporters and sponsors of my

achievements throughout my life, I already acknowledge how literacy will allow me to live a

bountiful lifestyle.

From the time I was a little girl my parents have drilled in me the importance of

education. They have allowed me to live a life of fun and spontaneity, but not without

encouraging me to do my best in school. They knew that in order for me to get ahead in this

world I had to not only be up to date with my education but I had to excel in things that others

did not. My father took it upon himself to make sure this happened. He taught me how to read

and the basics of writing at a very young age, so when it was time for me to start school I was

prepared. My dad would teach me skills during the mornings before school, even though it

sometimes made me late for class. The teachers would complain about my tardiness but my

parents ignored it because they knew they were doing what was best for me. There is no doubt in

my mind that my parents were my first sponsors of literacy. They instilled in me their

determination for me to go beyond expectations and achieve great things.

Along with them, I had many other sponsors of literacy like all my English teachers, as

well as other teachers that aided in my education. I have one teacher in particular that did a lot

for me in high school, Ms. Newman, she was my english teacher freshman year but she

continued to help me throughout my four years at North Brunswick. She looked over my papers

whenever I asked her and made sure to give me feedback that I could use to my advantage. She

proof read my essays scholarships at the end of my senior year and wrote recommendation letters
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for me to get into college. Not only did she have something to do with how I performed in school

but she also participated in how colleges and scholarship committees viewed my literacy.

When asked whether my literacy sponsors provided me adequate access, the only logical

answer is YES! My literacy sponsors have opened numerous doors for me, and my past

experiences have offered me life-long benefits that most people take for granted. In this day and

time, we do not realize how lucky we are to have so many resources and people to help us.

After reading Sherman Alexie and Malcom X’s essays about their disadvantages when it

came to what they had access to. I realized how lucky I was to have access to an abundance of

learning aids. I have always had opportunities to purchase literature, go to the library, and use the

computer. Growing up, my dad often took me to the bookstore to read and buy books that I was

interested in. He always said that as long as I wanted to read he would buy me books. I think this

has a lot to do with my progression in literacy. If these opportunities were not openly accessible

to me growing up, my knowledge in these fields would not be as sufficient. My joy of reading

grew with me as I got older. Now I enjoy reading whenever I find free time. I read at work, I read

at the beach, I read at school and I read at home. Once a book captures my attention it is difficult

for me to put it down. I am glad that my primary literacy sponsors, my parents, chose to teach me

basic literacy in reading and writing; however, if I had the opportunity to become literate in a

different skill I would probably choose to be musically literate. Being able to sing or play an

instrument, both interest me and would be beneficial for broadening my overall literacy.

Having a strong support group to aid in the development of one’s literacy is important.

The assistance that a person receives can make the difference between success and failure. I am

thankful and lucky that I had the help of my parents and teachers to guide me through childhood

and make sure I remained headed in the right direction. Without my parents’ willingness to
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provide me with the best resources, I do not know if I would have achieved all the academic

success during my educational career. Hopefully my desire for literacy will continue throughout

my life so that I may continue to open doorways to lead me to be successful in my future career.
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Works Cited

Brandt, Deborah. "Sponsors of Literacy." College Composition and Communication


49.2 (1998): 165-185. NCTE. 20 Jan. 2011.