While many of us already access, engage with and think about reading Scriptures on a mobile device, most of us don’t stop to think about how people learn to read and write.
“My Language, Karang,” is a book designed to teach Karang middle school and high school students in northern Cameroon how to read their own language. They already know how to read some French because their public school education is in French. Now at home they can transition to reading Karang so they can record folktales, stories and songs, and read their new Karang Scriptures.
Most of these young people have access to cell phones. So Ngang David, the author of the book, and translation advisor Bob Ulfers are working to make the book lessons and exercises available in attractive video format on their phones. This means adapting the lessons to fit even the smallest screened phones. It also means adding audio recordings of the lessons so that these active, mobile kids can learn whenever and wherever they are, without the need for a teacher.
It’s slow going, especially when Ngang David, who is also a farmer, must give his attention to protecting his newly planted fields from wandering cattle. Nevertheless, they’re making progress. Bob says, “I’ve already had the pleasure of being surrounded by eager young people trying to pronounce the Karang words that pop up on a small screen.”
Soon they’ll be doing spelling and grammar exercises in “My Language, Karang,” and then they’ll be reading God’s Word in their very own Karang language — all on the cell phone they carry in their pocket.