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(July 2008) The International Reading Association is holding its 22nd World Congress on Reading: Reading in a Diverse World in San Jose, Costa Rica, 28–31 July. Attendees were able to select from more than 170 sessions, symposia, workshops and reports on topics in literacy. SIL presented "Experiencias de lectoescritura inicial en lenguas indígenas de México" (Basic literacy experiences in indigenous languages of Mexico).
Juanita L. Watters, SIL Mexico, along with two Mexican colleagues, will present a seminar about a practical literacy method that SIL has introduced in Mexico. Verónica Luna, whose mother tongue is Ngigua, and Plácido Hernández, whose mother tongue is Isthmus Nahuatl, are representative of those who have learned this method and are applying it in their own communities to teach children and adults to read and write in their own languages.
With the CÓMELE* method, the ownership and implementation are entirely in local hands because they learn the actual theory and method and apply it to their own languages. A sample demonstration of CÓMELE during the seminar showed the objectives of this method's dual tracks, the whole language track and the analytical track. There are now several colleagues from ethnolinguistic groups who can teach the method and have helped to co-lead CÓMELE workshops.
Familiarity with CÓMELE as a successful literacy method is growing fast. Developed by SIL in the Pacific, the course has been used in several African countries. In Mexico, the course was introduced in 2002 to speakers of five languages. Now there are CÓMELE materials in over 30 languages of Mexico. The course has been introduced in South America and the CÓMELE manuals are being translated into Portuguese. Where CÓMELE materials are used, the teachers find them very successful in teaching reading and writing to both children and adults.
*Combinación de Métodos de Lectoescritura