About Dr. Robert Laubach, Literacy Pioneer
Dr. Robert Laubach and his father Dr. Frank Laubach were pioneers in the literacy movement throughout the world. Through their work, thousands of people have learned to read and have improved the quality of their lives.
Dr. Bob, as he likes to be called, was born in Manila, Philippines on October 25, 1918. Dr. Frank Laubach, his father, was a missionary among the Maranao people of the Philippines. Deeply concerned about the overwhelming poverty and injustice these Muslin people suffered, Dr. Laubach became convinced that the ability to read and write was essential for them to begin to solve their problems.
Using a basic instructional approach, Dr. Laubach found that even the most impoverished people could gain control of the written and spoken word. He discovered the potential of volunteers. Newly-literate Maranaos taught adult learners through a one-to-one instructional program that became known as "Each One Teach One." Dr. Laubach also demonstrated that literacy is an effective means for positive community mobilization and change. Over the next 55 years, Dr. Laubach visited 105 countries in an effort to bring literacy to the "silent billion." His teams of visiting and local literacy workers tirelessly field-tested teaching materials and techniques in the search for effective methods of teaching illiterate adults. Laubach Way to Reading and Laubach Way to English, which our tutors and students use today, stemmed from this work.
In 1955, Dr. Laubach founded Laubach Literacy. This non-profit educational corporation helps adults and families improve their lives and their communities by learning reading, writing, math and problem-solving skills.
Growing up in the Philippines, young Bob was a teenage observer and part-time helper to his father. In 1946 he joined his father's work traveling with him to some 65 countries in the next five years. He taught "Literacy Journalism" at Syracuse University for 30 years and later helped nurture the Laubach Literacy International organization through its infancy. In 2002 Laubach Literacy International merged with Literacy Volunteers of America and is now called ProLiteracy Worldwide. Dr. Bob is a life member of the Board of Directors of this organization and the Literacy Council of Union County is proud to be a member.
A Methodist and a Rotarian, Dr. Bob has recently published a 350 page autobiography entitled "Pieces of String Too Short to Save."