After the Machiguenga people, inhabitants of the Peruvian rainforest, received a written alphabet at the end of the 1940s, the Peruvian Ministry of Education initiated bilingual schools in Amazonia. Today, both the Machiguenga and outsiders judge the Machiguenga program to have been successful, despite barriers of distance, language, and cultural diversity. This study presents a forty-year chronology of the sociological and educational aspects of the program. In 1993, data showed an average literacy rate of 64.7 percent, high literacy use, and attitudes predictive of literacy continuance.
A first-hand account by an educator who helped to develop the Machiguenga schools, this volume's rich description provides teachers and literacy practitioners with an in-depth study of a minority-language educational program. Students of cross-cultural training will find a culturally-sensitive model for teaching and evaluation. Revised from the study named Dissertation of the Year by the International Reading Association in 1995, the book reflects the delight that the Machiguengas find in learning, such that they have voluntarily expended enormous effort to make reading part of their society. This is both a scholarly work and a present-day drama.