John Howard asked the question, “One part of the story that I haven’t heard is how the P’s learn to read. You say that you think thousands of them are reading their Bibles, so some method must have been used to teach them to read.”
Good question John. The vast majority of the P population between the ages of 10-40 are fairly literate. They all learn how to read in the government schools which are situated in their respective villages. However, the government schools only teach them how to read in Spanish, so this throws a bit of a curve ball at them when it comes to reading in their own language.
However, we are so grateful for the early missionaries, particularly Alli Findley and Mary Lou Yount, who developed readers and syllable charts in the P language and taught literacy before Robin and I ever arrived. This gave a large percentage of the nation the ability to read in their own language. Most can sound out words, but there is a lower percentage of readers that can read well with sight words. So, the majority of these “thousands” of P’s that are now reading their Bibles are also honing their reading skills as there are virtually no reading materials in their language other than the Bible.
This brings us to a great topic and that is the topic of literacy. The Silva brothers have adapted Mary Lou’s reading Primer and desire to have it printed as they desire to launch a reading program across the P nation. Nereo just sent me the final version of the Primer which he worked on for me to proof read it. Once it’s approved by me and Nereo, I will send it to the Print shop in Bogota for a quote to see how much per copy it would be to print 20,000 Primers. At that time, we will be raising the money for that project as well and Nereo wants to launch a nation wide reading program and train teachers to get out to all the villages and teach the children to read first in their own language. This is really exciting news as the better they can read, the better they will be able to read and study the Scriptures.
We are very grateful for Mary Lou’s wisdom in using as much of the Spanish orthography as possible (i.e. the ‘W’ sound she wrote with the Spanish ‘Hu’ so that the reader would not have to learn two symbols for the same sound).
Thanks for the question John. Let me know if you have any more.