Laubach Literacy Method

The Laubach Literacy Instructional Program

The Temple Literacy Council trains its volunteer tutors in the Laubach method of instruction. In the 1930’s, while working in the Philippines, Frank C. Laubach originated a method of teaching adults to read and write in their own language. This method was tested and refined over the years as it was used to teach adults to read in many local languages. Laubach carried the slogan “Each One Teach One” into 100 nations. He founded Laubach Literacy International, which conducts literacy programs in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Near East, and India.

The Laubach Literacy International instructional program is based on the bottom-up reading model, but also includes some top-down activities. A bottom-up reading model is a reading model that:

  1. Emphasizes the written or printed text.
  2. Says reading is driven by a process that results in meaning (or, in other words, reading is driven by text).
  3. Proceeds from part to whole.

The bottom-up aspect of the program uses a primer based on the phonics approach, while the top-down aspect of the program uses language experience, which is a global approach.

The Laubach Literacy instructional program includes several basic assumptions: community involvement exists to encourage literacy, motivation to read exists on the part of the community and learners, trained volunteer tutors or teachers are available from the community, and curriculum materials are made available to the instructors/tutors.

Typical curriculum materials for Laubach Literacy include:

  • Primer(s) or basic instructional materials
  • Correlated readers
  • Teacher’s guides
  • Materials for reading and writing activities apart from primer

Principles found to be of particular value to the Laubach Literacy instructional
program are:

  • Letters of the alphabet and the sounds they stand for are taught in a systematic manner.
  • Learning is through association rather than through rote memory. Letters and sounds are introduced through keywords with picture association.
  • Lessons move from the known to the unknown.
  • Familiar vocabulary is used. The vocabulary is controlled, limiting the number of new words in each lesson.
  • Repetition is used to strengthen the visual image.
  • Meaningful content is used.
  • There is something new in each lesson.
  • Independence in learning is encouraged. The uniformity of each lesson makes it easy for learners to help themselves.
  • Reading and writing are connected in each lesson to help reinforce skills.
  • Lessons are planned for maximum self-help and minimum teacher help.

This article was edited from an article written by Martha Lane, Leah B. Walter, and Ken Boothe for the SIL International Website.