If you’ve reached this blog post, chances are you can read the words on this page.
Imagine if you couldn’t.
That means you couldn’t navigate web pages, read books, understand certain street signs, and most likely you also wouldn’t be able to write.
Most of the world’s population can function in society with at least a basic literacy level. But statistics from UNESCO show that 17 percent of adults still cannot. In a world that relies heavily on the written word, illiteracy poses a serious problem for people who still need these skills.
That’s where ministries like Bridge to Reading step in.
Bridge to Reading (B2R) is One Mission Society’s international literacy project. Its main objective is to provide adults and teens with literacy services, while also giving them the opportunity hear the Gospel. By partnering with local churches in countries with a high illiteracy population, B2R works to tutor students in reading, writing, and basic mathematics.
B2R is different from traditional ways of teaching reading in a couple of significant ways. The first is in terms of the way students learn to read, which centers on the “Bridge to Reading Story.” The student tells a story, and the tutor writes it down word for word. The students learn to read their own stories rather than stories that someone else has chosen for them. Then, the students choose several words from their own story that they want to learn as sight words. Those words become the basis for the letters and syllables (phonics) that the students study.
The second difference is in terms of the relationship between the student and the teacher. B2R is a highly student-centered approach based on proven principles of effective adult education. B2R revolves around a teacher-student relationship that is a collaboration between peers. The students identify their own literacy goals, and the tutor helps them achieve those goals.
Both of these emphases stand in contrast to what many of B2R’s tutors and students have experienced in past academic environments.
Currently, B2R estimates that around 3,000 adults and teens are learning to read through its program in churches in Colombia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi. In 2015, field supervisors have also reported that 378 people made decisions to follow Jesus Christ through the B2R literacy program.
But statistics can only give us a fraction of the picture of God’s impact through B2R. Through the power of words, we can read and connect with the personal stories from students and tutors who have been involved in this ministry and how God has worked in their lives. Check out the OMS blog next week to have the privilege of reading testimonies from B2R staff and students.
We invite you to join the B2R team by praying with us for Colombia:
- That volunteers from Prison Fellowship, local churches, and other ministries will continue to have an open door at every prison, and that God will reveal himself through undeniable evidence of his power and love through them.
- That the prisoners and prison staff would have opportunities to encounter God through the volunteers and the believers inside the prison.
- That the believers in the prison will grow in their relationship with God, experience inner freedom in the Lord, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses through everything that they say and do.
- That our trainers would have opportunities to teach the Colombian church how to use Bridge to Reading as a tool of evangelism in their communities.
By Jess Mitchell, One Mission Society Summer Intern, Communications