Hosea doesn’t hide his passion for reading. “When a person knows how to read,” he says, “he’s been removed from the dungeon of ignorance to the light and radiance of knowledge. When you teach a child how to read, you are partnering with God to help the child discover the glorious treasures of the Most High, which are transmitted to our generation through writings.”
A Nigerian school teacher living near Jos, Hosea’s desire to teach children how to read increased when he was working as a reading tutor several years ago.
While tutoring a group of children, Hosea found that many of them had been taught to memorize letters and words, but not necessarily their sounds, patterns, or meanings. This caused some significant roadblocks when it came to reading.
“The problems of literacy in Nigeria are great,” explained Sheila Dykstra, a Christian Reformed World Missions missionary who is working alongside leaders like Hosea to transform education in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s overall literacy rate is just over 50 percent, but some regions have literacy rates lower than 15 percent. Passionate teachers like Hosea are making a difference in raising these numbers.
Since his first tutoring sessions, Hosea has thought a lot about reading and how to bridge the gaps in children’s learning in Nigeria. He discovered that there were very few books for emerging readers in Nigeria and that teachers did not necessarily use the best methods when teaching students to read.
From there, Hosea partnered with a missionary couple to develop the Phonics Reading Adventure curriculum.
As a result, said Dykstra, “Teachers are seeing a bigger picture of reading that goes beyond the memorization of letters and words. As these methods are implemented, students are having greater success in the process of learning to read.”
Recently, Hosea came to the Daniel Center, a community for transformation and leadership development initiated by CRWM. Hosea, along with CRWM missionary Sarah Kluitenberg, led a one-day seminar for teachers that explored several methods for improved reading.
“Teachers had a good time interacting with one another,” said Dykstra, who also serves at the Daniel Center. “They were given the tools to build a strong foundation.”
Hosea, looking to increase the scope of his mission to reduce illiteracy, recently left his post as a teacher to become a full-time consultant and trainer. He will continue to work with the Daniel Center to lead new training sessions and share his passion for improved reading throughout Nigerian schools.
“God is calling Hosea to address the challenges of reading within the national school systems,” added Dykstra. “Pray that Hosea will be able to build a reading culture in the teachers and schools he trains.”