Getting to grips with reading in The Gambia
Children living in some of The Gambia’s poorest rural communities have few opportunities to discover the joy of reading: Most families cannot afford books to have at home and schools often only have curriculum textbooks. In addition, little or no access to electricity can make reading and studying in the evening impossible.
Thanks to the inspiring books you have helped to send, pupils at Boraba Lower Basic School and Demfai Basic Cycle School have plenty of books to read and enjoy! They are even able to indulge their new-found of love reading after school thanks to solar lamps from our partner Switched On-Gambia. We caught up with head teachers from both schools to find out more.
Musa Baldeh, Principal, Demfai Basic Cycle School
Books from Book Aid International have made our reading lessons easier. Pupils used to find these lessons boring but the variety of books from Book Aid International means that they are now enjoying these lessons. These books came at the time we needed them most!
Teachers are using the books in class during reading lessons and students are also taking them home to read. A lot of the curriculum books are not available at our school so the books from Book Aid International are also being used by teachers as supplementary materials. So these books are very important in supporting teaching and learning at this institution.
Because books are now being used more in class and pupils are also able to borrow books to read at home, the language skills of our pupils are improving. The solar lamps mean pupils can read at home in the evenings.
In my community there is little understanding of the importance of formal education which means there is poor support from parents of their children’s academic careers. But these books are motivating students to come to school daily and stay in school.
The books from Book Aid International are very good. They are improving our reading skills and make learning easy. The language books help us to know the correct verbs.
– Ramatoulie, 11, Boraba Lower Basic School pupil.
Kebba Ceesay, Head Teacher at Boraba Lower Basic School
The books are very good, they are very important. They are very current and in-line with the curriculum. We use the books with our pupils during library periods. Teachers also use some of the books for further explanation during lessons.
These books are encouraging our pupils to read. Sometimes pupils come to the library to learn new words using the dictionaries. If teachers are not in class, pupils come and borrow books to read in class to keep themselves busy.
Almost every pupil rents a solar lantern so they can read books at home as well and this is impacting on their academic performance.
Now with the help of the books, we are engaging pupils more in reading and their reading is improving. We’re also seeing improvements in their language. The books are also increasing the number of pupils that come to school. Without these books, learning would be difficult for the children as it was before.
We hope to see pupils leaving this school with a good educational background.