Student Working on Syllabation
During the summer reading camps of 2011, it was a common observation of the animators that a large number of the students were not able to recite the alphabet or sound out syllables to make words. At every camp, the animators had to start at zero with between 5 and 10 4th-grade-aged students who did not know the letters in the French alphabet. And the instruction of the day for all of the kids usually concentrated on putting letters together and sounding out syllables. This is a major problem for a group of students who will soon be taking their exams that determine whether they can enter into middle school. If they cannot read their lessons or what the teacher writes on the board, how can we expect them to understand the lesson and succeed in school? Unfortunately, class sizes are so big, especially in small villages in Burkina Faso, that the teachers do not have the time to help the slower students keep up. After the camps, many of the animators remarked that the kids made amazing progress during the one week of the reading camp, and if they were able to work like that all throughout the year, grades would be much higher in the classes. The librarians and animators were all encouraged to set up meetings with kids to work on their reading skills as time allowed
The librarian at Béléhédé has taken the initiative to do just that and to alleviate the problem of illiteracy amongst students early on. Working off of the information he gathered during the reading camps, this librarian decided to set up a weekly date with the 60 kids of CE2 (3rd grade) at a local primary school. In the first week, he worked on reciting the alphabet. In a note about the session, he remarked that about 50% of the kids could not do this. During the second and third weeks, he helped them recognize the vowels and consonants in the alphabet and what sound each letter makes. For the last lesson of the month, they worked on recognizing the consonants and what sounds they make in different words. In his report, he says that he saw a marked improvement in the level of the kids and hopes to continue working with them in the month of November.