I taught my first literacy class today! It was so much fun! The illiterate ladies in our Friday morning bible study have been itching to learn to read the bible, and since we weren’t ready to teach another full fledged literacy class yet, I’m going to meet with them every afternoon and teach them. This is kind of funny since I don’t actually know the language I’m teaching them, but I do know how to read it! (Thanks to the straightforward 1 letter=1 sound alphabet that Joseph and Wes used. It’s WAY easier to learn than English!) We laughed today about how I could teach them to read their language and they could teach me to understand it.

None of these ladies read at all, so I started with the basics by explaining how words are just sounds blended together–that all they need to do is learn the sounds and they can join them together and make all the words in their language! Then we dove into learning some sounds that we could blend together. Today were just the vowel sounds oo, u, and i and the consonants w and q. (Q is actually a really common sound in their language. The guys chose the q to represent a sound that they use all the time but we don’t have in English. It’s the hardest sound for me to make in Menyan though, so I got challenged in my pronunciation right off the bat!)

As you can imagine, it didn’t come very naturally, but they are getting it. One of the funniest things was Mati trying to get the “u” sound. (think u in hug) She kept wanting it to be an “a” sound (like in ma), but finally made a grunting “u” sound and got it right and from then on she remembered it as the “going to the toilet sound!”

The very last thing we did was two sentences of actual words in their language using just those few sounds. Just like our kids have been over the moon the day they first sound out a simple sentence like “Cat sat,” these ladies were so thrilled to read “I wi.” and “Iqoo wi.” Their very first sentences! (She sleeps. He sleeps.) While Mati was reading out loud she didn’t understand what words she was saying, but Rita heard it and recognized it and kept joyfully repeating “I wi! I wi!” And I asked her what Mati was saying and she said “She sleeps!!” It was so cute seeing their joy that they were actually reading for the first time! We’ve got a long way to go, but we had a great first day!

They took home papers with their new sounds written on them to study before class tomorrow.

  1. Mom

    Well done!

  2. Sally Winfrey

    What a joy for these ladies and what a joy for u to watch their satisfaction It doesn’t get much better thanks for your perseverance Can’t wait til they can read the Word!!!

    • Elizabeth Osborn

      It is such a joy! They are three weeks in now and still excited.

  3. Nolan Gottlieb

    Love this!! Praying for y’all!

  4. Susan J King

    I was just telling juliette that when she learns to read it opens up a whole new world. These women ….what a joy!! Good going!!!

  5. Teaching a language you don’t know. I love it!!!! That’s some kind of brilliant!

    • Elizabeth Osborn

      Or crazy!

  6. I love how candid you are and they are with you, it’s so sweet to see you sharing those funny moments with them. Proud of you for taking extra time with them. Maybe they will help you perfect that “q” sound!

    • Elizabeth Osborn

      They are definitely candid! but it’s great. I think I actually have perfected the q sound and another hard sound after saying them over and over for three weeks!

  7. Taryn

    Love this! It’s the smallest joys in life that keep us all coming back for more. It’s a huge blessing to get to hear about it all!!

  8. Candace Wingo

    I love it that they are motivated to learn to read and trying so hard.

    • Elizabeth Osborn

      I love it too!!

What do you think?