One of the first questions translation teams ask when determining program strategy is: Are there people who are literate or semi-literate in the national language? If so, how can we get them reading in their own language?
In Columbia, where Spanish is spoken widely, very few Desano people had made the transition to reading in their own mother tongue. Leah Walter helped to develop a transition primer to be distributed along with the New Testament. The article includes a step-by-step description of how she and the team developed this primer to teach themselves how to read their mother tongue. It was suitable for both literates and semi-literates. Sample pages from the primers are included. They include lots of pictures, which aid the reader. [more...]
It is possible that the literacy based approach as applied in non-reading communities reaches best those who most want to escape from the traditional culture into the modern world of wealth and technology, but it may not be successful in reaching the majority of the people, or the poor in many regions.
After over 150 years of literacy based mission strategy, we will still miss half the world if we continue believing that people must read in order to receive the Word.
In this article, Herbert Klem surveys mission strategy, especially that which has been literacy-based. He outlines the problems with relying on such literacy-dependent methods in reaching much of the world's population. [more...]
Traveling to different countries in Africa, I’ve noticed one important link between Scripture use and literacy, and that is how literacy can harm Scripture use! It is clear that it is right and proper to have an emphasis on teaching people to read, but the big question is: Where do you start?
In this brief article, Margaret Hill describes the importance of transition literacy and how it affects whether the translated Scriptures will be used in the local church or not. The author suggests different kinds of effective literacy booklets that can be produced, featuring local medicinal herbs, proverbs, hymns and others. [more...]
"Social activity is our responsibility in the discipling process. Once a person has responded to the love of Christ, we are to help them grow up in their faith. Setting them free from the chains of sin and yet not removing them from the chains of illiteracy and thus oppression is not loving my neighbor."
In 'Is Hearing Enough?', Don Edwards presents research carried out in India, where a significant percentage of new church leaders and believers cannot read. He argues the case for literacy to play an important role in discipleship efforts as part of what it means to love our neighbor.
In the light of the growing focus on Orality, the author challenges us not to lose sight of the vital role that literacy plays in grounding believers in their faith. [more...]
Literacy & Evangelism International (LEI) has developed Bible-content, adult basic readers in more than 180 languages. These readers are being used to teach Christians how to read the Bible so they can be daily students of God’s Word.
LEI helps people connect better with their world and with God’s Word:
- by assisting churches and missions with materials and training for basic literacy or English teaching ministries
- by developing Bible-content teaching materials in multiple languages
Literacy for Life is all about injecting a good dose of the Bible into a traditional literacy programme... You will need the beginner’s literacy primer. This is the book that is used to teach the letters of the alphabet and the reading of simple phrases in the language. Alongside this, you will need a Scripture Guide book. This is the book put together especially for the Literacy for Life course.
A teachers' guide to running a Literacy for Life course. This is a church-based literacy programme that makes use of existing materials and adds a Scripture guide.
Two types of programme are described: a beginners' course and an advanced course. The advanced course is a form of small-group Bible study. [more...]
The pastor will find that not only can his congregation read the Scriptures in their own language, but they will show a greater depth of understanding God’s Word and show growth in their Christian lives.
Community literacy projects have been running in Ghana since the 1970s. Pastors, however, were not using the mother-tongue Scriptures in their churches. To address this problem, Pat Herbert describes how they developed Scripture Guides to accompany literacy primers. The program is now known as Literacy for Life (LFL). The article includes a sample of a Scripture Guide lesson, and discusses various issues, including training of teachers to use the materials, making it a church-based program, and funding for the primers and Scripture Guides. It compares the normal literacy programs to the LFL program and describes the impact the program has had. [more...]
Making readers literate, that is what transition literacy is all about. L1–L2 transition literacy introduces the isolated minority language speaker to a world of information and ideas outside his own culture; L2–L1 literacy restores to the L2 reader his cultural and linguistic heritage. Both have a significant role to play in literacy programs among the minority language groups of the world.
Trudell outlines two types of transition literacy: from L1 (mother tongue) to L2 (language of wider communication) and vice versa. She shows how the strategies differ for each, describing situations in which one or the other might be used and the benefits of such programs. She then focuses on L2–L1 transition literacy, describing four different kinds of literacy materials: alphabet charts, self-teaching primers, transition primers for class use, and spelling/writing guides. She also gives examples of where these materials are being used. [more...]
"Learning takes place when the activity is (1) receptor-oriented, (2) context-oriented, (3) repetitive, and (4) participatory… Indigenous music embraces all four of these learning components. Not only are the words in the people’s spoken language, but the music is also in their traditional music system."
Research shows that music is an effective tool for memorisation. Mary Saurman describes what is needed for effective instruction and shows how music meets many of these requirements: it is receptor-orientated, uses repetition, is participatory, and has intrinsic motivation because it is a part of people’s culture. She offers examples of how music has enhanced literacy programs across the world. Finally she outlines several steps to incorporating music into a literacy program: consider music’s function in the community; ask questions of when it’s used; what it’s used for and who uses it; then consider which song categories and styles are appropriate for literacy; and finally begin to use it! [more...]
“The illustrations captured the imagination of the children.”
Mary Beavon describes a Scripture Use activity their team used in an area of Cameroon where churches are small, travel is difficult, and people have little money. They developed Scripture Big Books (from Shell Books), which served to both teach the Bible and promote literacy. They were used in churches and open air. Though it is not a sustainable activity, it provides useful manuscripts and exposes people to written forms of the Bible. [more...]