“Sponsors…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 334). This definition allows for a more expansive definition of what it means to “be” literate, but also allows for a wider variety of influences to shift the acquisition of literacy towards their own ends. “Sponsors are a tangible reminder that literacy…has always required permission, sanction, assistance, coercion…”(334). This connects to much of our previous reading that examines the privilege associated with authority in literacy, and the uneven acquisition of literacy.
In his narrative, Mike Rose recalls the role that his own mentor played in his success as a student, and acknowledges that he would have faced potential failure without timely intervention. The presence of this sponsor allowed Rose access to an education that he would have been without, intervening at every possible turn to allow him to acquire greater literacy.
As teachers, we must accept that we are sponsors of a sort. We cannot reach to the extreme that Rose’s sponsor did, but we are all advocates for the same cause. Encouraging the evolution of literacy in our students is a common goal that we all share….to be continued.