New Literacy Class Begins October 2, Bernards Farm: Missionary Field Report: Liberia, West Africa

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. – 2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)

Tomorrow we begin a new literacy class. Classes are free and open to the general public. Currently, I have one mother (33 yrs. old) and daughter (18 years old.) who have expressed interest. World Bank Indicators for the literacy rate in Liberia for females ages 15 and above is 53%.

For adults, to admit you can’t read can be quite a challenge. Yet, these ladies when asked if they could read, hesitated, drop their heads and said “no.” Often, adult students need a lot of encouragement to stay committed to the class. This is why on the very first day we ask them, “Why do you want to know how to read?” Answers range from being able to read their child’s report card to opening a bank account. We then lead them on the path that will help them to accomplish their goals. Literacy classes are fluid. Sometimes, once the student has met their goals they quit the class.

As a part of the orientation, each student is given the Bader Reading assessment to ensure they are placed in the proper reading skill book. The Laubach series teaches reading up to grade 4, 5 reading level (Books 1-4). Our books have been contextualized for Africa by Alfalit Liberia, funded by USAID. Alfalit has literacy classes across the entire nation. Yet, it is still very easy to start a new class.

In addition, there are other books we use once a student gets to Book 3 for life application. We have health books about “HIV/AIDS”, “Good Health Begins At Home”, “Good Nutrition for All” and “TB”. You may or may not be aware that Africans are very entrepreneurial, actually by force because of the job market and their own marketability. So, we also have a reading pamphlet “How to Start & Improve your Business,” again all supplied by Alfalit Liberia.

Our classes are a little bit unique in that we have incorporated the last 15 minutes of the class as a bible lesson. We use the current literacy lesson of the day and formulate our bible lesson from there. It is not forced. Students are asked if they care to participate and most often do. Some students have commented they enjoy the bible lesson more than the reading lesson.

Pray with us,

Sis Hattie