The Gift of Literacy
April 2009

“The Gift of Literacy,” Ensign, Apr. 2009, 73

The Gift of Literacy

Our oldest son loved kindergarten and seemed to do well in school. In first grade, however, it became apparent to us that he was not reading. He could read a few words here and there but struggled with even beginning reading assignments. Months passed, and our son’s reading skills scarcely progressed. My husband and I became increasingly concerned.

One day I remembered something my mission president had taught years earlier. I had been called to a foreign-language mission. Learning the Russian language was a challenge of varying degrees for each missionary, and our mission president counseled us to read the Book of Mormon in Russian every day. He promised us that the power of the Book of Mormon would aid us in our ability to communicate in Russian. He was right. Over time I became better at both speaking and understanding the language, and my testimony grew.

Years after my mission, I found myself thinking, “If it worked for me in Russian, why wouldn’t it work for my son in English?” After telling our son about my struggle to learn Russian and my mission president’s advice, my husband and I challenged him to read on his own from the Book of Mormon every day. He would spend time highlighting the words God and Lord as he found them on the pages. Soon he moved on to Jesus. After that he would pick out words he had seen and ask what they were. He was diligent in his daily reading, and by the end of the year his reading level had surpassed our expectations.

Now our son is in the sixth grade. He is an exceptional reader and helps teach his five younger siblings about the gift he received through reading the Book of Mormon. Each of our children has developed strong reading skills and a habit of reading the Book of Mormon. They are beginning to feel its powerful spirit of truth as their testimonies grow.