Literacy

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...]

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...]

Injecting a good dose of the Bible into your literacy programme
Author: Richard Margetts

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...]

Author: Mary E Saurman

"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...]

Taking a Hard Second Look
Author: Herbert Klem
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (12.2 Apr-Jun 1995)

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...]

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...]

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...]

The Most Common Avenue to Increased Scripture Engagement
Author: T. Wayne Dye
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (26.3 Fall 2009)

The choice of medium can make a difference, and better artistic quality enhances any communication. However, the most important quality is how relevant the message seems to be to the lives of its hearers. If a hearer (or reader or viewer) thinks the message can make an important difference in his life, he will make an effort to listen, even if the quality is poor. Conversely, if he thinks it says nothing personally relevant, he will ignore even the best presented message. This principle of personal relevance is critical to communication.

Wayne Dye expands upon his third condition for Scripture Engagement:

Accessible forms: People are able to read the Scriptures or hear them from others or by listening to electronic media.

The article describes different ways of making the Scriptures more accessible: storying, literacy, local performing and visual arts, audio recordings, cell phones and video.  [more...]