Teach Two method of literacy training is a viable solution to
the massive problem of low literacy. Our goal is to turn
the Community of Need into the Community of Service and to turn
willing new readers, young and old, into community-based tutors. Each
of You Teach Two!
This unique approach is based on the following premises
a print-saturated society like the United States, there
are no non-readers. There are, however, millions of hesitant
readers who cannot read well enough to function fully in
society and realize their full potential. Millions of people
who can recognize stop, go, gas, and bus were never shown
how easy it is to begin to build a reading foundation
on those simple
human beings are gifted; but we all use a small percentage
of our brain power. Vast numbers of adults, who claim
they cannot read, live caring and productive lives and find amazingly
creative ways to compensate for their inability to decode print.
and children who are told that they are learning disabled
or unable to focus may come to believe that they are
inferior—and even more if their teachers and
family buy into the negative labels and do not understand and
is possible to bring students with learning differences up
to grade level in reading and even to teach individuals
with IQs in the 30s to read with understanding and enthusiasm. The
well-documented work of Dr. Renée Fuller has proven that
repeatedly over the past 35+ years. With Fuller’s system
of capital letters there are no reversals.
most important factor in teaching someone to read is heartfelt
listening. Anxiety causes the brain to downshift.
Authentic listening dispels anxiety and creates safe space which
accelerates learning. When reluctant readers feel safe, they
do not have to apologize or pretend. An exciting new world of
learning opens up where past performance makes little difference.
most powerful teaching resource is the life experience
of new readers. Once they feel safe and begin to reveal what
interests them most, words about things they love will become
sight words on which to build a reading vocabulary. As the motivation
to learn becomes self-directed and self-reinforcing, they may
discover books that can feed their interests and fire their imagination.
all learn best when we teach someone else; that is also true
in learning to read. Even young readers can teach other children
from scratch, providing they believe that they can and have
access to simple methods and a mentor, their former tutor,
to guide them through the process—before, during, and
after each tutoring session—until they are ready to
try it on their own.
vast corps of potential literacy tutors of all ages—today’s
hesitant readers—exists in the very schools and neighborhoods
where tutors are most needed. Many adults are hesitant to
work with volunteers from outside their community. That condition
can be reversed when interested individuals are trained to
tutor their own children, siblings, and neighbors. One committed
and credible community-based tutor, eager to train others
to pass it on, could start a landslide.
new readers to teach two others in their lifetime creates
a geometric progression of learning. Frank Laubach’s
call to literacy in the mid-20th century with his book, Each One Teach One, catalyzed the dissemination of excellent methods
and the creation of a dedicated worldwide corps of volunteers,
as did the groundbreaking work of Ruth Colvin, founder of
Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA). The call to universal
literacy for the 21st century builds on that past and amplifies
it, handing the skills of teaching—and eventually,
mentoring—over to willing new readers, young or old.
Now, Each of You Teach Two!
partnerships promote healing, increase self-reliance and
creativity all around, and strengthen community leadership.
To begin to wipe out low literacy we must forego any beggar-at-the-gate
perspective, any trace of a proprietary, client-oriented,
failure mentality. We can and must develop mutually enriching
partnerships between the haves and the have-nots and among
service providers as well. Young and old, degreed and certified
or not, as we help each other learn we all grow in the sharing.
we but find the will, the simple learning technology exists
to begin to wipe out functional illiteracy in our lifetime. As literacy providers build more and more collaborative relationships
with each other and with community-based tutors, we can tap
the synergy of partnership. Though unheralded, Septima Clark
and Myles Horton proved that conclusively in the Deep South
of the 1950s with hundreds of Citizenship Schools that quietly
paved the way and prepared a people for the Civil Rights
Movement of the 1960s.