Literacy Boost – A Success!





Zacarias Mundiara

Zacarias Mundiara, Communications and Campaign Manager

Mozambique

September 30, 2013

 

Idalina teaches at the primary school of Chingoe in Gaza in the district of
Bilene. She and other teachers were the first Gaza teachers to be trained and
to implement Literacy Boost methodology to develop children’s abilities in
reading, writing and numeracy in their respective classes.

Teacher training in Literacy BoostThe fact that these children improved their reading and writing by about 60% in
a single school year attracted the Ministry of Education’s attention. It has
been requesting that Save the Children disclose this methodology to various
circles of interest and technical education within the ministry that ensure the
quality of education. In Mozambique, the quality of education remains a major
challenge. Nearly 25% of all school children can neither read nor write in the
appropriate class.

Idalina has been invited to give a lesson to colleagues and technicians of the
Ministry of Education in Maputo. This shows the differences that the various
strategies and methodologies, including literacy Boost, are starting to make
and that they are starting to be adopted by the Mozambique Government, which is
also concerned with the quality of education.

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A Visit to Vietnam Uncovers Progress, Challenges—and Joy!

Vietnam has made progress by leaps and bounds in the past decade, improving economic growth, boosting newborn and child survival rates and getting more kids in school. As I traveled throughout the country last week, I could see that this progress was rooted in the determination and industriousness of the Vietnamese people. They have worked so hard to make a better life for themselves and their children, and their hard work has paid off in an increased per capita income and an active economy.

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Literacy Boost: The Power of a Teacher!

Zerihun GultieZerihun Gultie, Sponsorship Manager

West Showa, Ethiopia

October 5, 2012

In 2009 a study was conducted to measure the reading skills of children in the South West and West Showa zones of Ethiopia. The results were shocking, a huge percentage of 3rd grade children were unable to read a single word, despite schools, trained teachers and community support. It was then that Save the Children came up with an innovative concept called Literacy Boost to create a culture of reading, both inside and outside the classroom. 

In April of this year I visited three schools which have benefited from Literacy Boost. I was
stunned by the positive change. Children in the 2nd and 3rd grades were reading their textbooks and were highly engaged – almost all were able to read an average of 40 or more words per minute.

There I met Mitke Kuma, a vibrant 2nd grade teacher. She is a multi-disciplinary teacher, teaching 6 lessons a day on all subject matters. She lives several miles from the school and walks almost three hours each day to and from work. When her shift starts in the morning, she often sets off walking in the dark in order to be ready to start teaching at 8am. On Mondays, she arrives an hour early or extends her afternoon shift to help students in the library as part of her commitment to the Literacy Boost program. Mitke in action

Mitke has participated in several Save the Children trainings. She is a strong supporter of Literacy Boost and is constantly developing aids to help her students read. She has grouped them into three reading levels with materials according to their skill, and has facilitated a reading buddies program where younger children are paired with older students who help them with their reading. According to Mitke, the Literacy Boost trainings have equipped teachers with effective and necessary teaching skills.

Mitke is committed to helping the children at her school and hopes to move closer, “If my home were closer to school, Icould have more time to help students improve their literacy level,” she
shares. Her dream is to improve her educational qualification to a PhD.

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“It works!” says the NY Times

January 27, 2012

Westport, CT


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In Nepal, 8-year-old Himal now has a favorite book – discovered through Save the Children’s Literacy Boost. In Malawi, Literacy Boost helped 11-year-old Beatrice learn to read, although she is blind in one eye. Amazingly, she now volunteers as a reading mentor for fellow students.

A model learning initiative, Literacy Boost was featured in the New York Times on January 19, 2012, in an article entitled “A Boost for the World’s Poorest Schools.” 

With your invaluable support, this innovative program is making it easier for children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to master the reading skills so necessary for a successful future. In 2011, Literacy Boost reached nearly 66,000 children. This year, we hope to reach 59,000 more.

Designed for young readers in grades 1-4, Literacy Boost lets everyone – from parents to teachers, to community volunteers to older children like Beatrice – get involved. Learning materials are often made locally and are in sync with the local language and curriculum. Books are loaned out to encourage reading at home. Songs, games, reading camps and reading buddies make sure learning is not only educational, but fun!

Does it work? Absolutely! Assessments, a regular part of the program, show that students who participate in Literacy Boost make significantly more progress in reading than students who don’t participate. Even better, Literacy Boost participants attend school more often – and they do better in math as well as in reading!

We hope you’re as proud of these results – and of your part in making them possible – as we are! To read the New York Times article, click here.

Celebrate Reading: National Children’s Book Week

ARON H Aron Holewinski, Media and Communications Intern, and English literature student at Williams College (MA) 

Tueday, April 26, 2011

Westport, CT


Next week is National Children’s Book Week.  A time to celebrate those cherished and tattered books that many of us can recite by heart.

Reading has always been a part of my life.  As a kid, I eagerly awaited for my mom or grandmother to read me a book at bedtime. One of my favorites was “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” about a clever little mouse who asks a boy for a cookie and then keeps asking him for more things.

I remember stories of gallant knights and Western cowboys, buried treasure and Arabian nights. I loved closing my eyes and letting my imagination drift. Later, I seldom ventured without a book. On long car rides in the back seat, or during summer vacations by the pool – I always had a book at hand, and a story to get back to.

Ultimately, fiction is the stuff of life. We learn about each other and the ways we live through reading.

ARON on books

Given my own passion for reading, I am distressed to think that so many children cannot read for themselves. Reading is a fundamental skill that too many children go without.  And, when you don’t know how to read or write, words turn into a jumble of symbols. 

But, that’s where Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program comes in.  It’s a much-needed program to help young kids in grades one to four develop their language and reading skills both inside and outside the classroom. It works by engaging everyone in the community – from teachers, parents and even older children – to help kids learn through simple actions like reading aloud with a child.  

Kids in 10 countries in Africa and Asia are currently enrolled in the program, and, we’re seeing impressive preliminary results. Kids are reading more words per minute, they have a better understanding of what they’re reading and they are excited to showcase their reading skills with others.  
There’s no doubt that my family’s persistent reading aloud, and their steady encouragement to read influenced me.   

I hope other kids get to share that joy, too, so that when they open a book, letters will become words. And words will become stories. And characters will spring to life, opening up a whole new world to them.

Here are some easy ways you can celebrate reading and National Children’s Book Week: 

  1. Read to a child today. 
  2. Share your favorite children’s book in the comments section below. 
  3. Provide picture books for preschoolers in Afghanistan with an $80 donation.

 

Reading: The Spark that Lights up Children’s Eyes


Cec Cecilia Ochoa, Senior Specialist for Basic Education & Literacy

Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Imagine what your life would be like if you weren’t able to read. What basic tasks would you be unable to do? What simple pleasures would you be unable to enjoy? 

Reading is a skill many of us take for granted. But for millions of children in the countries and communities where Save the Children works, reading remains a struggle.   

Parents typically have little time or training to help children learn the alphabet, or to make the link between the words they speak and the letters on a page. Books are few and far between, and are written in the school language, which is different from what children speak at home.   

Teachers without training often teach reading in the same way they were taught—mainly through drills and repetition, with limited time spent on teaching key skills or on ways to learn as you read text.    Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program promotes training teachers and creating a culture of reading outside of the classroom. Photo Credit: Brent Stirton for Save the Children

Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program promotes training teachers and
creating a culture of reading outside of the classroom. 

Photo Credit:  Brent
Stirton for Save the Children

In 2007, Save the Children set out to measure how well children in the early grades in Nepal, Malawi and Ethiopia could read. The results were startling.  We found an alarming number of children unable to read even a single word in a text or passage.  

We decided we needed to do something to change this. That’s how Save the Children developed Literacy Boost, our signature program for helping children learn to read. Here is how it works: 

Through Literacy Boost, children in the early grades are given opportunities to practice their reading skills both in-school and in their homes and communities. Book Banks of storybooks in the local language are provided so that children have materials to read other than their textbooks.  

Community volunteers also are mobilized to conduct weekly Reading Camps for children, where children can listen to stories, read books, and play games to improve their reading skills. Parents are coached on activities they can do with their children at home to improve language skills, even if they are not literate themselves. 

Teachers are trained in strategies for teaching the five skills needed for reading. And children’s reading skills are measured at the start and end of the school year to track their progress and identify where they still need more help.   

During a recent trip to Nepal, I was heartened by how the schools and communities had embraced the program.

“Before Literacy Boost started here in Kailali, there were no storybooks for children available in the community,” Anita, a Reading Camp facilitator told me. “Now, they have story books and fables in both Nepali and Tharu. This has brought the habit of reading to the community. Even parents are more interested about reading now.” 

The results are encouraging. In a year’s time, children who participated in Literacy Boost had increased their reading scores significantly compared to those from non-assisted schools.  

But it is the spark that lights up children’s eyes when they talk about books that especially inspires me.

“I like the stories, especially the one with the monkey,” said Kamal, age 7, one of Literacy Boost’s participants in Nepal. “When I borrow a book to take home, I can read it to my whole family. We can all enjoy the story together.”

Ishwor Khatry, Save the Children’s tireless education coordinator in Kailali, shares my sentiment. He said, “Through this program, we can really see that we are making a difference.”