reading, writing and illiteracy

Their father tells me, “I want to help but I don’t even know what this word says. I can’t help them to read. I don’t even know the letters. I don’t know.”

One of the churches where I often teach on Sunday mornings is comprised of one family (not all of whom are believers) and one middle-aged man. They’re mostly illiterate. The adults have some ability to read Thai-yai – some individuals more than others in the group. The children are sweet little kids and their illiteracy and family’s situation is heart-breaking.

The oldest has been deemed ‘unteachable’ by their local school and they refuse to have her attend their school now. She’s eleven years old. She can write her name but I’m convinced she’s only memorised what her name looks like the way you might’ve memorised how to draw a star when you were young. It looks a certain way. Star after star you draw. A star or a name – it’s the same thing, isn’t it?

The middle child, a little boy and budding drummer and worship leader, knows his letters, which is a lot more than his older sister. He’s about seven years old. He’s able to write his letters in Thai really well but cannot even spell his own name correctly – he misses the last letter. My heart catches within me.

The youngest is about five or six years old. He’s still learning his letters but shows great promise.

I grew up in a house full of books. I never thought anything of it. The numerous shelves of hardcover and softcover books were a part of the house like the light switches in every room. They were there and they were used (read) and I couldn’t imagine a world without books and people reading them.

I didn’t realise then that it was a privilege to have such an upbringing.

Would you please pray for this family and these kids??? Not only that their faith in the Lord would grow and that they’d love Him with their whole hearts, soul and strength but also that they’d be able to read His Word together. Pray for wisdom for those of us who are trying to help teach the children to read and write in Thai and pray for the parents as they become more literate in their heart language (Thai-yai).

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