As a child develops they start to be influenced by their surroundings, especially relatives. Literacy is an influence which stays with children and they are able to build more to it as they learn. Families become literary sponsors since they can affect the child's literacy and form a significant part of it. Children tend to learn many skills from their parents by watching what they do and copying it, but as children begin to learn, which parent affects the child's literacy more?

Literature review

In the article "Sponsors of Literacy" by Deborah Brandt a definition is given on what a literacy sponsor is and a few examples of people with different experiences with their literacy sponsors. Brandt defines literacy 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" (Barandit 72). This article provides the basic information that is needed for research and because of the many ways that a sponsor could affect a person it helped form the question. Other articles were used to obtain more information in detail.

In the article "Why Fathers matter to their children's literacy" by Christina Clark states ‘fathers' reading habits can have a substantial influence on their children's ability to read, their levels of interest and their reading choices'. Clark also explains that many times fathers are not able to spend a large amount of time with their children because of their job. In a similar article, "The effects of fathers' and mothers' reading to their children on language outcomes of children participating in early head start in the United States", by Anna E. Duursma a similar point is made. The article elaborated on the idea that women are now going more into the workforce and that it is essential that a parent reads to their children, because it could help them learn better. The articles emphasize how vital it is to read and interact with their children at a young age because it could benefit the child later on.


The research used came from the collection of many classmates' responses from an English 101 class at Boise State University. Although the responses were able to provide information on who their literacy sponsors were several of the responses were not very specific. I also used a survey to have more specific answers that could lead to more accurate findings. Although the survey did aid in gathering information, one of the shortcomings is that a person's memory is not always reliable and could result in inaccurate data.The sample size of the people that I gave the survey to was also small. I believe that if I had been able to get a greater sample size of random people answering the survey the results could be a more accurate representation of the population.


In many of the responses, my peers stated that their mothers were more of their literary sponsors than their father. To Madi Russell her mom was a major literacy sponsor growing up. She stated that her mom has supported her throughout her school career and in anything that she was interesting in learning. Rudy Sun also states that his mother would ensure that he was doing fine in school. His father was not able to attend college, but his mother did and was able to help more. For Lucas Little his father has always been a literacy sponsor for him and still is. He explains, he loved problem solving since he was a little kid and how his father inspired him to pursue a STEM major. He says that he still asks his father to help him with problems about engineering or just about problems with his truck. Corbin Call also believes that his father was more of a literary sponsor because his father was extremely interested in his learning. He explains that his father would make sure that he not only knew that material, but that he was learning it.

For all of the people that I surveyed they all answered that their mom supports their literacy more. Alejandro Macias states , "my mother because when I was a youngster she would always put cartoons that were in spanish for me so Spanish was my first language to speak. All that also affected my writing and reading"(Macias, survey). For Alejandro his mother helped him in both his literacy in English and Spanish and some of his learning happened through watching television, while others would talk to their parents. Alan Chavez explains that his mother would read books to him before he would sleep, but they would be in Spanish so his mother would help him out more in his literacy in spanish. He says that he would spend much more time with his mother because his father would work constantly. Alan says that he would see his father a couple times a week because he would always be asleep when he got home. Jorge Perez also agrees saying that his mother had a greater effect on his ability because his parents were separated and since he lived with his mother he spent more time with her. I believe that the environment that the child grows up in also has a major effect on who they learn from.

Ulises Trujillo explains that he would spend far more time with his mother because their way of thinking was very similar. He liked his father, but they would often disagree. His mother also helped him practice his reading and writing and would also help him with his homework. Kevin Vasquez is another one of many that has had more of an impact by his mother. He states that his father spends most of his time working so his mother would be with him more and his mother didn't speak English very well but she helped in what she could. She also helped his literacy in spanish since it was his first language.

For most of the students that I asked which parent affected their literacy more, they would respond that their mother did because they would spend more time with them. Their father would be the one working and they didn't really get to see him that often. Some of the people that I surveyed are also Mexican and typically the role of the father in the family is to work and the mother looks more after the kids since he's the one who takes care of the house. I think culture also affects the literacy of people and there are also situations in which the parents are not the only ones that affect the child's literacy. There are some cases where the parents are separated and are not able to spend much time with their children and the ones who affect the children's literacy are their siblings. It also depends in what kind of environment the children grow up in.


Literary sponsors no matter who they are have a big impact on children's literacy. For further research could be looking into the background of people like their culture and their family. Many of the findings from my research were that for many people their mother had more of an effect on the person's literacy. I believe that it's because for many the father figure still is the one who works and provides for the family, but as time progresses that could change. Children are the future and what their parents teach them will stay with them, but in order for them to learn parents need to spend time with them and help them learn.

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