in progress edited by Daniel
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
after more than two decades of work in the literacy field, Dr. Frank C. Laubach (1884-1970)
founded Laubach Literacy International, a nonprofit,
educational corporation. Laubach
was a leading pioneer of the contemporary adult literacy movement. Through his
efforts as an educator, communicator and organizer, millions of poor and
disenfranchised people around the world were empowered to improve their lives
In 1930, Dr.
Laubach was a missionary among the Maranao people of the Philippines. He was
deeply concerned about the overwhelming poverty and injustice they suffered, and
became convinced that the ability to read and write was essential for them to
begin to solve their problems. Using
a basic instructional approach, Dr. Laubach found that even the most
impoverished people could gain control of the written and spoken word. He
discovered the potential of volunteers, as newly-literate Maranaos taught adult
learners through a one-to-one instructional program that became known as
"Each One Teach One." Dr.
Laubach also demonstrated that literacy is an effective means for positive
community mobilization and change.
Over the next forty years, Dr. Laubach visited 103 countries in an effort to bring literacy to the "silent billion." His teams of visiting and local literacy workers tirelessly field-tested teaching materials and techniques in the search for effective methods of teaching illiterate adults. A prolific writer and accomplished speaker, he wrote forty books on prayer, literacy, justice and world peace, and inspired congregations and community groups across the United States with his vision of a better world.
By 1955, Dr.
Laubach was ready to institutionalize the “Each One Teach One” approach and
he founded Laubach Literacy. The organization enables illiterate adults and
older youths to gain the listening, speaking, reading, writing and math skills
they need to solve problems they encounter in daily life; to take full advantage
of opportunities in their environment; and to participate fully in the
transformation of their society.
program incorporated the phonics-based training, as opposed to the whole
language method of teaching English (for more information on these two
approaches see http://www.southern-style.com/latimesanswers.htm).
Laubach Literacy Action (LLA), the Program Division of Laubach Literacy, is the
largest volunteer-based literacy organization in the United States. It
has over 1,100 local member programs throughout the U.S., and provides a full
range of literacy services to more than 170,000 students annually.
Instruction is provided by a network of nearly 90,000 volunteer trainers
and tutors who donated almost 6 million hours in 1999-2000.
publishing division of Laubach Literacy, New Readers Press, distributes 500
books and other educational materials to 30,000 literacy programs, libraries,
schools, prisons, and religious organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Laubach Literacy International has partner programs teaching people in over 1,000 communities in 36 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Laubach Literacy of Canada is the Canadian affiliate. It was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization in 1981, although the first Laubach tutor training workshop in Canada was held in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia in 1970. Laubach Canada now has about 9,600 trained tutors, 8,300 students and 155 Literacy Councils.
It was on
behalf of the world's neediest people that Dr. Laubach spent his life and
boundless energies, and he moved hundreds of thousands to join him in service to
humanity. His work left an indelible mark on the twentieth century and offers
messages of hope to future generations as they carry on the work of building a
literate, just and peaceful world.
Prepared by Dorothy Aaron (OISE/University of Toronto)
Citation: Aaron, Dorothy (2001). 1955: Laubach Literacy Association is Founded. In Daniel Schugurensky (Ed.), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century [online]. Available: http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/assignment1/1955laubach.html (date accessed).
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