Zach Cann

Zach Cann

sent out by Grace Bible Church to plant churches among the Ndo people

This week we had a great team of people from 8 different villages come to help write over 100 short stories (averaging about 4 sentences each).

The literacy team. Not pictured: Florence (Cassidy’s language helper and the only lady beside Cassidy at the meeting).

These stories will be used in the four main primer books, practice readers, an extra primer that will help people read the trade language, and small books for further practice. The goal of course, is for people to be able to read God’s Word for themselves. God chose to disclose himself and his great promises in a book, so we’re going to help people learn how to read.

The four nDo-language primers. There are 161 short stories in these four books alone.

Here is how it will work.

On day one, students will open the first primer and they will see this.

They will learn four syllables—o, i, no, and ni. It may not seem like much, but these are the four most common syllables in the nDo language. And believe it or not, our brilliant literacy team actually wrote 2 stories using just those syllables. It’s not the most fluid story ever written, but they did the best they could with what they had to work with:

The 6 sentences on this page read: “I went up. I gave it to him and went up. He ate yam and I went up. Give the yam to him. You all eat the yam. I went up.”

One of the most difficult tasks of literacy development is writing stories that only utilize certain letters. This is a job for people who really love games like Scrabble and Boggle (which is not us). Even so, Cassidy did a great job helping people create simple, cohesive stories that did not violate current nDo spelling rules.

The literacy team churning out stories that only utilize 6 letters.
Three very short stories for primer one that only use the 10 letters written across the top of the whiteboard.

After students finish the first primer, they will learn a total of 35 syllables (consonant and vowel combinations). It’s a bit shy of the 120 they have to learn to be fully literate in the language, but it’s enough to read a whole book of simple short stories.

Over the course of 6-9 months, the students will slowly work through all four primers and all three practice readers. At this point, they will be considered literate. But being literate and being ready to read the Bible are not one and the same. Becoming a proficient reader with the ability to comprehend what one reads takes time and practice. Toward that end, our team of literacy helpers have helped us translate over a dozen illustrated short stories ranging in size from 5-pages to fifty. These books will hopefully help nDo-readers to grow in their reading pace and comprehension.

A collection of short stories translated by people on the literacy team.

And again, the goal of all this work is that they will be able to pick up the inspired word of God, read it, understand what it says, and believe it.

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