A few years ago, these children we work with in Mombasa would never have picked up a book to read it for fun. It isn’t something that happens often in Kenya and so it isn’t encouraged. One of our GVI goals is to improve literacy rates in order to give these children a chance to succeed.
The best way we found to do this is with education and teaching literacy through story. Because of generous donations from around the world we have books to support our One to One and Group Reading initiatives which foster the love of reading.
Today, while observing a Group Reading lesson I was able to see how much of a difference these two programs are making. Our new volunteers, Sophie and Emma, on their second day teaching read stories aloud for their Standard 5 class at Olives. While reading ‘Horton Hears aWho’ by Dr. Seuss, they noticed their time was up and stopped (well tried to stop) reading. The whole class was in protest! “More, Madam! Please!” “Just one more page!” “The bell hasn’t rung yet, we can keep going!” But sadly, the bell then did actually ring and the class had to end. Both Sophie and Emma promised they would continue the story tomorrow and find out if Horton found his Who. But, ‘next time’ wasn’t soon enough as the kids were out reading books with them on their break time. When the break was nearing the end, Madam Sophie tried to collect the books and was met with some more friendly protest! When she finally had them all the children and her laughed as they were trying to get them back as if playing keep-away.
Olives students enjoy reading time. It really was a wonderful moment to witness knowing how far these kids have come. It’s so touching to know that all of this is possible because of volunteers who spend their time teaching these children and from those willing to donate books or money to support these children they don’t even know. Just wonderful.
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