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by Phil Bartle, PhD

18. Guide Participants Into the Awe and Enjoyment of Discovery:

Your literacy participants will not have you forever to teach them everything they will want or need to know about reading and writing. It would be productive, therefore, if you can prepare them to continue to teach themselves, and to explore the joys of seeking to learn more.

There is no "once-and-for-all" in functional literacy. People can become more and more literate, or they can stop the process at any level. You have started them off at the most elementary level. That should be a foundation for them to continue learning more (such as spelling and grammar which should not have been an important part of your curriculum).

One idea that has been successful elsewhere is to see if the participants want to organise themselves into a reading club or association. As a club, they would have their own executive, make decisions as to what they wanted to do, and how they would govern themselves. They might choose to invite volunteers, perhaps retired literate people local professionals, and others, to visit them and each make a presentation or two on a specific topic. They may grow into a book review club, or a newspaper reading club, depending upon how well they have learned to read, and at what level.

When you are showing literacy participants for the first time how certain squiggles of pen on a paper can communicate meaning, they will likely display joy and awe that this can be done. That is a good time to suggest that the new things to discover are endless, and that they can be learning more new things until the ends of their lives – if they so choose.

If you instil and/or encourage a sense of wonder and awe in the joy of learning, you will have done a great service to the participant – and to the community because the community becomes more empowered as more of its its members become more literate.

Notes on all of the above (long document)

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