I just received some good news from the community of Concepción. Our reading aloud to children is having an important effect that will help them stay in school.
In rural Mayan communities, half of the children fail the first grade and about 75% drop out altogether before completing the sixth grade. (That's not the good news.)
One contributing factor is that these Kaqchikel-speaking children often enter the school system speaking little or no Spanish.
Our reading promoters read aloud to children in Spanish and translate into Kaqchikel to develop vocabulary and aid the children's comprehension.
Here's the good news: Rosmery, one of our third-year promoters, just shared with me that the children who attend her reading activities have told her they no longer need the translating. They understand the Spanish.
This is just what we wanted to see! Children grounded in their native language with literacy in Spanish.
Together we are transforming children's lives…and it costs very little.
A donation of $20 pays for a child to attend story hour three times a week for a year and provides storybooks to read on his or her own.
Give the gift of literacy to one or more children today,
Juan Carlos is not the most articulate of our newest teen reading promoters. He lives in the shadow of his domineering father and his Spanish skills are a bit weak. But I love this kid because what he lacks in eloquence he makes up for with spirit and determination.
Last week as our Learning Journey group ended their time with the teens in a teary and heartfelt closing circle, Juan Carlos's words hit me hard. He bravely shared, "If it weren't for Reading Village, I would not be here. I would be in the field carrying heavy loads of vegetables." And that's the truth. His family would not be able to afford to send him to public school (which in Guatemala is not free), and he would be trapped in the cycle of poverty that many never escape.
Juan Carlos was not accepted into our program on his first try. But that did not stop him. And now, despite his difficulties expressing himself, he is nearly always the first to offer an opinion or answer a question during the teens' training sessions.
And each week he grows more and more accomplished at engaging small children in stories. Through our program Juan Carlos is not only discovering a new future for himself but making this possible for the children he reads to.
Keep teens like Juan Carlos in school with a donation today.
Thank you for your partnership in this important work,
Don't forget! Wednesday the 15th is Bonus Day.
Donations made on that day only will be matched 30%
That means a donation of $50 (10 books) becomes $65 (13 books).
As always, your support is greatly appreciated.
I never expected that we'd see it this soon, just two and a half years after beginning in Concepcion, but there it was right in front of me -- the birth of a new generation of leaders in this community.
Sunday, after Daniel and I had wrapped up the training session with our fifteen teen reading promoters, Marcela (one of the teens) told Daniel the group had something to tell us. I have to say I felt a bit nervous as the mood was serious and they all seemed to know what this was about.
Marcela then announced that they all met the day before and formed their own action committee with a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. They've created such a love of and demand for books in the children they read to they now see the need for a library. And by their own initiative they formed this committee in order to begin to make that happen -- with our blessing and promise of support.
I was so choked up I could barely respond. THIS is what the work is about for me -- the development of local leaders that will create a new future for their own community.
Please continue your generous support with a donation today. You are making a difference!
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