Most of the children coming to the ‘Kids and Reading’ program attend school, though frequently the classes are too big for effective learning. During the first school year much time is spent learning the alphabet, and the children enjoy reciting it, but they don’t have books to use. Learning is by rote and memorization.
Bushra looked bewildered at the words, in the simplest book, when I asked her to come and read. But when I turned to the back of the book where the alphabet was displayed, she could easily recognize the letters. I then turned back to the first page and asked her to say the words sound by sound. She did and the light went on in her eyes when she discovered that she could sound out words. Now the hard part isn’t getting her to come and read, it’s getting her to realize that she must let others have a turn too!
Discovery through Reading
The children burst out in happy laughter when we took their newly crafted pinwheels outside as they started spinning merrily in the wind. It was a much appreciated craft early in the program. Later, when we brought out some more advanced books for the able children to read, Salma started reading a book about children in Brazil. A few pages into the book she very excitedly showed us a picture of children who had made pinwheels just like them. She felt proud to have made something that could be found in a book.
Learning by Doing
The children are loved and cared for at home, but they don’t have many opportunities for stimulating activities. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we cut out, colored, and wrote messages on hearts. I realized that Abdu, age ten, who recently had joined the program stood hesitantly beside me, paper and scissors in his hand. He wanted help. I held the paper for him and encouraged him as he slowly cut. Soon he could do it by himself. I asked if this was the first time he cut with scissors. He nodded with a proud smile of accomplishment on his face.
Kids and Reading project quick facts:
- Facilitating children’s discovery through interactive reading and learning.
- Over one hundred children in one of the capital’s poorest neighborhoods registered in groups of 15 - 25 kids.
- Opportunities to read a variety of fact and fiction books.
- Reinforcing Math skills through manipulatives and games.
- Stimulating activities of puzzles, arts and crafts.
- Friendship, honesty and respect is modeled and taught.