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BIOGRAPHY OF DR.

FRANK LAUBACH
Dr. Frank Laubach, for whom the Each One, Teach
One method is named was born on September 2nd,
1884 in Benton, Pennsylvania, USA. As a missionary
and an educator, he always had a deep interest in the
Philippines, and his objective when he went there
was to begin evangelistic work among the Moros
who were Muslim. They resisted the Spanish
colonial rule and the corresponding claim by the
Americans after the Spanish-American war. Not
being able to work with the Moros, as they were
uncooperative, Dr. Frank and his wife, Effa Emaline

Seely, a nurse, went to work with the


Christians on the island of Mindanao.
Later he spent time teaching in
Manila. Finally, in December of 1922,
he was to fulfill his dream to work
with the Maranaos, who were Muslim,
who inhabited the island of Mindanao. He
wanted to start a school but they also
resisted his efforts. Then he had a dream
and believed he heard God telling him, If
you want the Maranaos to be fair to your
religion, be fair to theirs study their
Koran with them. Now the way opened
up. He realized literacy was a necessary tool for improving their lives. He lived among the
Maranaos, listened to them and learned their language. They had no written language so he
invented one. He devised a Key Word system to help students identify and remember
sounds of the letters. The results were amazing. The people learned to read and write in two
weeks or less!

Soon after, he learned that the funds he was


receiving to pay the teachers was to be cut
due to the Great Depression in the 1930s.
When he told this to the chieftain, who had
learned to read from Laubach, he declared,
If I can learn, anyone can learn. Let each
one who learned to read, teach someone
else or die!
No one died as a result, but the
concept Each One, Teach One was born and became the motto and emblem of his literacy
movement. Word of his success began to spread.
In 1955, Dr. Frank Laubach founded Laubach Literacy, which helped introduce
about 150,000 Americans to reading each year and grew to embrace 34 developing
countries. In the 1970s, because so many
tutors

were

faced

with

non-English

speaking learners, it was necessary to


write materials for teaching English as a
second language. Also, the trend toward
teaching in small groups became the norm.
Canadas Laubach Literacy Council, which was started in 1970 and incorporated in 1982,
closed its doors as a National Council in 2002. However, literacy councils continue to
operate across Canada, of which the CVLC : Chateauguay Valley Literacy Council in
Quebec is one. During his forty years as a literacy crusader, Dr. Frank Laubach found time to
write some 50 books and scores of articles. He died on June 11, 1970 in Syracuse, New York.

Thank you to Lea, a long-time CVLC member, for writing up this article. (2016)