Using the Bible to teach illiterate people to read has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, thanks to a reading method developed by American linguist William Kofmehl. In the past two decades, 50,000 tutors from 25 countries have been trained in Kofmehl’s method.
Kofmehl, a 53-year-old Lutheran layman, started Christian Literacy Associates in West View, Pa., in 1975, using a $250 grant from a local Lutheran Synod. The method emphasizes individual attention from trained tutors.
About half of the world’s population is illiterate, including some 35 million Americans who read at less than a fifth grade level. “The Bible is locked away from their use,” Kofmehl told Religion News Today. Such people are scattered over cities, rural areas, and even suburbs. “Any church that has kids is bound to have several who are going to fail if they don’t get individual help in reading,” he notes.
Studies have found that 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate and 86 percent of all juvenile offenders have reading problems. Jobs available to women with poor reading and writing skills are traditionally the lowest paid jobs.
Christian Literacy materials improve the lives of illiterate people in two ways: by teaching them to read, and by exposing them to the truths of Scripture.
— E.P. News