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Literary Sponsors

Posted on February 6, 2019

In Deborah Brandt’s “Sponsors of Literacy”, Brandt discusses the way literacy has developed over time and does this by focusing on different groups of people and their methods of teaching people how to become literate.

Brandt’s formal definition of literary sponsors is a follows: “Sponsors, as I have come to think of them, 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.’ What this means is that a literary sponsor is basically the person or thing that taught you the skills to be literate in a certain subject. Some examples that Brandt cites are Protestant churches in England having Sunday School to teach working-class families how to read and how slaves taught themselves how to read using the Bible.

Brandt also brings up the idea of how social class plays an important part in how accessible literary sponsors are. Those who are rich have more access to literary sponsors as they have money to pay for them while those who are poor have a harder time or cannot get sponsors of a higher level. I relate to this specific part of her concept of literary sponsors with swimming. I did not swim on a professional club team but a community swim team. Professional club teams can be very expensive and have ex-Olympian coaches and community swim teams are free and one just has to get lucky with coaches who have experience and push you to your limits.

In terms of swimming, my literary sponsors are my coaches. They taught me the motions needed to swim all four swimming strokes successfully and efficiently, they taught me the swimming lingo, they taught the meaning of 50, 100, 200. etc., they taught me how to manage my time while balancing my school work with swimming, but most importantly they taught me the ability to be patient and persistent. These skills I apply to my daily life and it has helped me tremendously. Not only am I an expert at swimming now, but I am becoming an expert at handling life thanks to those skills.



  1. Kelvin Chen

    I remember learning to swim as well. It was hard at first. Like many, I was scared of the water and didn’t know how to swim. But I do remember how my coaches would teach me how to swim correctly and they would tell us lingo and we would catch on. They would teach me how to dive correctly and how to do “flip turns”. It was like having our own secret language. However I gave up swimming because I wanted to focus on school, but more power to you!

  2. shoyuan

    I totally agree with what you wrote about different class are also a variation of a literacy sponsor and how everyone is sponsored by millions of different ways. I can relate to that because I’ve studied in local high school and also private international high school that students parents are more wealthy. And I learned that students are not similar compare with local high school students.

  3. tyeon

    I certainly agree with your definition of literacy sponsor as a thing or person that taught you the skills and knowledge needed to be literate in certain field or area. As you mentioned that swimming coaches were your coaches, my literacy sponsor in the field of sports would be my friend. It was through him that I got to know what basketball was and how it worked as a team sport. I also agree that literacy in one certain field may influence you for the better; for me, I gained tremendous amount of confidence while being able to play basketball and eventually play for my high school team.

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