Literacy

Author: Leah Walter

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...]

A church-based literacy program for Ghana
Author: Pat Herbert

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...]

Author: Margaret Hill

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...]

Transition Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa
Author: Barbara Trudell

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...]

Promoting Scripture use in difficult environments
Author: Mary Beavon

“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...]

How the Bible can be Relevant in all Languages and Cultures
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Piquant (2008)

"Clear, simple and readable - very practical, fully supported with further reading ... exactly the kind of thing that is needed."
Chris Wright, Langham Partnership

A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media.

Individual chapters can be used as a standalone interactive workshop in church or mission contexts. Chapters (with further reading) are also appropriate as a text for graduate studies. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links for useful websites.

Also available as an e-book for Kindle.  [more...]