Get Organized for Mission: Literacy

by Major Christie Van Zee


The Mission: Literacy resources provided by the American Bible Society and The Salvation Army are tremendous and available to all corps for free. Since the books and tools are underwritten and our tutors are volunteers, the only financial cost to us is the shipping. It’s a win/win situation and the results are amazing as the students gain confidence in reading and comprehension.


Here’s how I get organized for the program:


  1. Organize the lesson plans.


The Mission: Literacy curriculum includes 30 books, each of which is typically comprised of three lessons. I’ve created a filing system to keep track of every lesson and to ensure our students are learning the materials in order. I have one file folder created for each book with three subfolders inside of it—one per lesson. The file folder is marked “Book #XX” and the lessons are marked, for example, Lesson 1/1, Lesson 1/2 and Lesson 1/3.


  1. Prepare packets for each student.


I prepare a fun, helpful and organized packet for each of our Mission: Literacy students. Not only does this encourage them along in their studies, it helps to track and organize their progress. I use a 1-gallon sized Ziploc® bag which includes the following:

  • Two sharpened pencils, an ink pen, a glue stick, scissors, deck of sight words, the alphabet book (provided by the American Bible Society), crayons, a pencil sharpener and an eraser.
  • Also, I include a small treat (like a lollipop or piece of hard candy) in the bag each week to give the student a reward for the successful completion of the lesson.


  1. Prep each lesson weekly.


Weekly before lessons I review notes from each student to determine if he or she is ready to move on to the next lesson. If so, I pull materials from the next file and place them in the Ziploc® bag with a treat. I also take time to pray for the student as I pack their bag.


  1. Weekly work documentation.


I encourage our tutors to write updates on their student’s progress each week in a spiral notebook provided for them. If there are certain challenges, words or concepts that need additional attention, when possible, I take a few minutes to find supplementary or helpful materials.


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