“What If..?” Mother-Tongue Literacy


Teaching LiteracyWhat would it be like if you were an English-speaking farmer in the USA, yet all schools were taught in Mandarin Chinese? How well would your English-speaking children (and your neighbors’ children) do in school? What might the dropout rates be? How would you feel as an English-speaking parent? (Do you speak much Mandarin yourself?)

  • What if a pilot-project began in which adults from your area were trained to teach English to adults and children using simple, interesting reading books?
  • And what if a pilot-project began in which teachers from your village were hired to teach the children in kindergarten using English, while Mandarin was taught as a subject, to help the children gain proficiency?
  • What if your children were first taught to read English, and then later to use their knowledge of reading for comprehension, to learn to read Mandarin?
  • What if you saw that your children were now enjoying school, and understanding what they were taught?
  • What if many more children begin succeeding in the educational system?

It’s an exciting thought, isn’t it? Pilot programs like these are underway in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s government leaders are urging development organizations like Association of Baptists to develop mother-tongue literacy books so that the many ethnic groups in country can learn to read, first in their own language, and then in Bangla. We’re all for it!

PrimersAOB’s Cultural Research programs team up with Literature Division in primer production. Partnering with Bangladesh Tribal Association of Baptist Churches, pilot reading classes are training eager students, both children and adults. Many tribal students can read and are now succeeding in school due to these pilot projects. Many adults are now studying alongside their children and supporting their children in their learning. Praise God for the village schools, teachers, parents and students who have worked hard and studied in multiple languages! 

We want what is learned to spread and inspire people in more language areas. May on-going discussions about these needs result in creative solutions and positive trends for these schools and communities!

Imagine. What if…?