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November 30, 2008



The biggest smirlaiity that I see between the two ways of decoding and comprehension suggested by Heath and Cornelius would be the sponsorship factor. Cornelius discusses how the decoding and comprehension done by the children of Trackton are initially taught by older siblings and used to help parents. When a younger kids learn to read mailing addresses, they take over the job of delivering the mail from the older kids. When a mother needs something from the grocery store, the younger kids go along with their older siblings and are taught how to decode the prices so that one day they will be able to run to the store on their own. The sponsorship of the older kids and parents to the younger Tracton kids helps the youngsters as well as makes their older siblings and parents by making life easier and more convenient. The slaves in Heath’s piece also rely on sponsorship to learn how to decode and comprehend text. Many of them are taught during church services and some are even taught by their masters. The masters who teach their slaves to read do so primarily for their own benefit—allowing the slaves to learn just enough to help but not too much in order to keep them obedient. Regardless of the master’s intent, the slaves gain a lot from these teachings and pass their learning on to others.The primary difference I see between the decoding and comprehension discussed in the Cornelius and Heath articles is the independence factor. Many of the slaves in Heath’s article buy Webster spellers and teach themselves how to read and write on their own. They may receive help, but they do most of their learning for their own purposes. The Tracton kids, on the other hand, were always taught by someone else and their need to decode and comprehend text was primarily to help others in their community, not for their own goals. The Tracton kids had no inner motivation to learn how to read or write, where as the slaves did so in hopes of one day gaining their freedom.

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