The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. —Dr. Suess

March is National Reading Month. First celebrated in 1994 in honor of beloved children’s author Dr. Suess, it continues to be observed as a time to focus on reading and literacy. According to the National Literacy Institute, the United States is in a literacy crisis, with nearly 50 percent of adults living below the poverty line and 70 percent of low-income fourth graders unable to read at a basic level.

Mission: Literacy is an excellent resource Salvation Army units can use to minister to those in their communities while helping to combat the illiteracy epidemic and set people up for success.

Originally developed by the American Bible Association (ABA) as a pathway to both Scripture and literacy for children, Mission: Literacy expanded to include curriculum for adults. Participants
learn to read using evidence-based methods that have been applied to Scripture so that they become familiar with the Bible as they are developing the essential life skill of reading. The ABA has established an agreement with The Salvation Army to utilize these materials through February 2026.

“Mission: Literacy is a great way to not only promote literacy, but also serves to connect students with the Word (John 1:1-5) and corps programs through the help of soldiers,” said Mark Bender, territorial corps and community mission director.

The curriculum is comprised of two levels with 30 books in each. With beautifully illustrated Bible stories and hands-on learning activities, it draws and keeps the interest of participants. A manual and additional resource materials provide tutors with everything they need to help participants learn to read well with confidence and lays a foundation to help them succeed.

In the years since it was introduced, Mission: Literacy has been utilized by officers and program leaders to help children and adults learn to read or improve their reading skills. Reports from those who have used the curriculum have been overwhelmingly positive.

“We love Mission: Literacy and have used it in nearly all of our appointments,” said Major Randall Summit, who currently leads the Decatur, Ill., Corps with his wife, Major Sue. They plan to introduce it to the corps’ afterschool program this year.

With built-in versatility, Mission: Literacy can easily be added to existing programs at the corps, including afterschool programs and summer day camps, as well as in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults. It also can serve as an excellent way to create connections with local churches and schools.

Materials free of charge are available from the Corps and Community Mission Department.

To get started, contact [email protected]

 

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