First Glimpse of a New Book Design
One of the earliest goals we set was to build a growing catalog of materials that are linguistically simple, theologically clear, and biblically faithful. To this point in our history, we have written those materials ourselves. But we are increasingly seeing the potential to find resources that already meet the theological and biblical criteria but have a level of linguistic complexity that misses our target audience. In simple terms, they offer good content, but they are hard to read.
That is one of the reasons we launched a test project with Dr. Larry Caldwell of Sioux Falls Seminary in South Dakota. Larry’s book on how to study the Bible fits well with our content goals. However, the original manuscript had a reading level suited for a grade 10 reader and readability scores in the 65-68 range. With Dr. Caldwell’s permission, we asked to make revisions to the text that would preserve the integrity of the content, but reduce the grade level and increase the readability score. The goal was to make the book more accessible to new English readers and to create a text that would be much easier to translate into other languages.
We contacted our friends in Wales who work for a group called MissionAssist. These men and women have developed a controlled English style manual that has become the gold standard for writing in simplified English. Within six weeks, we were able to collaborate on revising the original manuscript and tested the results. The new version of the book reduced the reading grade level to under grade 5 and increased the readability score into the low 80s. The results were better than we had thought possible.
We have written previously about some of the details of the project. This week, we received the first pages of the new design back from the designer. After we complete the design phase, we will print 20 copies of the book and send it out for field-testing in June. If all goes well, we will be able to make any corrections or amendations in July and see the book go to press in August.
If this project is successful, we will begin to be more aggressive in our search for other partners like Dr. Caldwell. We are quite hopeful that we will find authors and ministries who will be interested in partnering with us to reach the many people for whom an interest in English will be the vehicle to introduce them to Jesus.
Here is a glimpse of two pages from the interior layout of the book. Continue to pray that this project will become a useful tool in the hands of the church around the world. Pray also that we will find other partners willing to participate in more projects like this in the days ahead.