Literacy training in prisons using Bible storytelling
For those desiring to use literacy or English teaching to reach others for Christ, here is some inexpensive, effective & easy-to use material based on 30 Bible stories. It was designed for prison use, & is being used in 4 or 5 states to get individuals from total illiteracy to 5th grade reading level in 30 lessons. A recent Language Olymics summer reading program for children helped them (in 6 weeks) advance ( avg.) 1 grade level in reading & 1/2 grade in spelling. Now it is being supplemented & used in local churches to help people learn English as a second language. One of the delightful results is students learning to read, remember & tell the 30 vocabulary-graded Bible stories while improving pronunciation, spelling, grammar & vocabulary. In our city many of the tutors are also English learners, just a little more advanced. Instruction videos for tutors on the website are only about 20-minutes long total.
How were these developed?
John Walsh had been invited to bring BibleTelling into the worst of the US prisons by a Baptist warden, and it was a great success, now being run by the inmates. When John was asked to help with the need for literacy, Jan Walsh felt God wanted them to do so. She spent 6 years designing and testing the curriculum there. Other material took 7 years to get someone to first grade because of the prisoners’ lack of self-confidence. Jan had been using other essays, and in the advanced lessons adding a Bible story at the end. Of course in prison there are people from every background, and some of the non-Christian inmates asked to have the stories moved earlier in the sequence of lessons, because they were easy to remember. No other reading material was producing as good a result, and when they decided to publish the material, copyrights become an issue anyway. They did a rewrite on the Bible stories, starting with Creation, and simplified the vocabulary. By the time a student comes to read the Creation story, they have already been exposed to / learned 70% of the vocabulary. By the end of the book (5 stories) they know 99%. There are 6 booklets, and the rave reviews from even non-Christian students prove ‘the power of a story simply told’ as John would say. It can change lives, and does, through this non-evangelistic pre-conversion discipleship method, which lets people learn about God by what He does & says and how He interacts with sinful people.