I used to wonder whether it's a good idea to introduce books and letters to cultures that don't use them now. Why should an oral/aural society need to change? As anybody who has seen The Gods Must Be Crazy knows, Westernization is a bad thing. If unwanted and uninvited, literacy could be like that bad, bad Coca-Cola bottle.
I think I'm over that now. In the real world, I am learning, just about everybody does, in fact, want to read. Just like everybody who knows what Coca-Cola is wants it. And communities that see their own languages put down in writing, with books published in them and everything, often experience what they would call a much better life as a consequence. (Again, it's all very much like Coca-Cola.)
Here's my son demonstrating the value of literacy. He has recently learned to read out loud, and the quality of his life has skyrocketed.
His sister, valuing her own skills in literacy, does not yet appreciate his.
By the way, I'd like you all to notice the Follow By Email box in the right-hand sidebar. Just as the title suggests, you may enter your email there, and you'll get a notice via email every time something new happens on this blog. I think it's a good idea, anyway. (Thanks very much to my friend Chris for bringing this feature to my attention!)