Tag Archives: Inspiring readers

Taking a book home

Inspiring Readers in Sierra Leone

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, when 25 under-resourced primary schools in Sierra Leone took part in our Inspiring Readers school library programme, school life began to change.

The programme created a cupboard library in each school, filled with over 1,000 brand new books to be used in class and for reading for pleasure. For many pupils, this was the first time that they had access to any books beyond their teachers’ text books. Lessons were more interesting and reading books suddenly became fun.

Pupils and teachers from the participating schools tell us more:

Reading in class in Sierra Leone
Pupils are enjoying donated books in class as part of new library lessons that their schools have introduced

Now that each school has story books to enjoy, every class has weekly timetabled library lessons. Pupils are discovering the joy of reading as a result:

“Even sometimes in classes when it’s time for reading they urge you. They say “it’s time for reading now.” They are so happy. They have the urge to read for themselves.”

– Mohamed S. Njai, Teacher, Ansarul Islamic Primary School, Bo.

Thomas and friends
Thomas (left) now regularly visits his school library to read

“I like books like Dressed for the Job because they show us many different clothes for different jobs like ambulance people. Sometimes I go to the library and I take them and I sit and read them. I am very comfortable with the books.”

– Thomas (pictured above), 12, Practising Primary School, Makeni.

This new love for reading has led to a huge increase in book borrowing. Ninety-four percent of pupils are now borrowing books to read at home, compared to only 49% before the project began:

“Reading makes us feel happy. Sometimes when I read my book at home, when I borrow a book from the library my sister helps me know the words that I don’t know how to pronounce.”

– Fatmata, 11 yrs, Practising Primary School, Makeni.

Borrowing books
Ninety-four percent of pupils now borrow books to read at home

“Some of them they come and order us to give them the books, because they want to read.”

– Abu Koroma, Teacher, St Michael’s Primary, Kissy.

Teachers are also using the new books to bring other curriculum subjects to life and make learning fun. Books can be a vital tool in schools where other teaching resources are scarce:

“They make a great impact in our teaching methods. Normally we lack school materials, but the supply of these books have helped us to teach key areas of learning.”

– Edward Abu Sesay, Teacher, Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone Primary School.

Using a book in class
The books are also being used by teachers to bring lessons to life. Elizabeth (pictured) uses Handa’s Surprise to teach home economics

“The programme has helped us to know how to use the materials in terms of reading. We even use those materials to teach other subjects; maths, science and so forth.”

– Elizabeth Kumba Sesay, Teacher, Roman Catholic Primary School, Segbweme.

With all this exposure to books, pupils’ reading skills (at their grade level) have improved by an amazing 61%!

“The way they were reading before and the way they are reading now is quite different. They can pronounce the words now.”

– Abu Koroma, Teacher, St Michael’s Primary, Kissy.

Engrossed in books
Pupils’ reading skills have greatly improved

“When I am grown up I will remember those books because they helped me a lot. Some English I don’t even know and when I read that book it enables me to know them.”

– Angella, 10, Practising Primary School, Makeni.

The books are also fueling a growing inquisitiveness even outside the classroom:

“There’s a book called Bird Spotter that has encouraged them to find birds. They have put water and seeds in their back yard, because they have seen a little boy in the book doing that. It’s very interesting.”

– Mohamed M. Bangura, Teacher, Ansarul Islamic Primary School, Bo.

“There is a boy who by himself goes out and reads information. Then he comes and tells us the information in assembly. Around the town and the school. We have a ‘Minister of Information’!”

– Abdul Francis Conteh, Head Teacher, St Francis Primary School, Makeni.

Phase one of Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support.

Choosing books in Roman Catholic Primary School, Segbweme

Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone phase one report

Between April 2018 and January 2019, we worked in partnership with the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) to launch the first phase of our Inspiring Readers programme in schools in Sierra Leone.

Five SLLB libraries and 25 schools took part and in January 2019 the first phase of the programme came to an end. This report presents the key outcomes and findings from this first phase.

About Inspiring Readers

Inspiring Readers aims to increase opportunities for primary school children to read by bringing brand new books into the classrooms of under resourced schools.

Each participating school receives over 1,000 brand new books, including locally published titles and a cupboard to store them in. School staff also participate in training in library management and bringing books to life in the classroom. In addition, each school is linked to its local library which already has a Children’s Corner. The libraries act as hubs, providing teachers with additional support, extra books and the expertise of a professional librarian.

So far, the programme has launched in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. We hope to reach 250,000 primary school children across Africa through the programme by 2020. You learn more about Inspiring Readers here.

Key findings

  • Increase in book borrowing

94% of pupils are now borrowing books from school to read at home, compared to only 49% before the project began.

  • Improvement in pupils’ reading skills

Teachers report a 61% increase in pupils’ ability to read at the level expected by the curriculum.

  • Pupils are developing a reading habit and this is increasing their confidence in the classroom

Not only are pupils’ literacy skills improving as a result of increased access to books but teachers also report an increase in confidence among pupils in participation in lessons and interest in learning.

Phase one of Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support.

Malawi children with their Inspiring Readers library

Inspiring Readers project update

Thanks to your support over 123,000 children in under-resourced primary schools in five African countries will soon be enjoying brand new books in class as part of our Inspiring Readers school library programme!

Each participating school has received a Book Box Library packed with brand new UK donated books plus local language titles and teacher training in using books in the classroom. Schools are also connected to a local public library which has a thriving Children’s Corner where children can access more books, reading activities and the expertise of professional librarians.

In addition to Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi, Inspiring Readers is now up and running in Uganda and the programme has also just launched in Sierra Leone.

Reading books in a school in Uganda
10,000 primary school children in Uganda are now enjoying new books in class thanks to your support

Librarians at the five hub libraries participating in Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone have just attended training. They are now leading workshops with 75 teachers from 25 schools to show them how to manage their Book Box Libraries and introduce children to the joy of reading.

Inspiring Readers training in Sierra Leone
Librarians in Sierra Leone are now showing teachers how to bring books to life in the classroom

Once the workshops are complete, the schools will receive their Book Box Libraries, giving children the chance to read for pleasure in school, some for the very first time. Many of them do not have books at home.

The impact of having brand new books in classrooms is already beginning to show. Our recent evaluation of the 2016 Inspiring Readers pilot in Kenya found that almost all participating schools have seen an increase in pupil attainment since their libraries opened.

Inspiring Readers in Kenya
Pupils at Muringato Primary School in Kenya, like others whose schools are participating in Inspiring Readers, are achieving better grades since their Book Box Library arrived.

Inspiring Readers has been so popular in Kenya and Malawi that the programme is being expanded in both countries to reach more schools and readers. Pupils at 25 more schools in Kenya are now enjoying brand new books and the programme will expand into 25 further schools in Malawi in October 2018.

Malawi reader
Inspiring Readers has been so popular in Malawi that we are expanding the programme to include a further 25 schools in October 2018

Next, we hope to expand the programme to Zanzibar.

We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have funded Inspiring Readers in Kenya, Malawi and Sierra Leone and the trusts, companies and individuals who have supported the programme in Uganda and Cameroon.

 

Korieama Primary School pupils

“Books are very important. We’ll survive on them.”

Ezekiel is the Head Teacher at Koriema Primary School, one of the schools participating in our Inspiring Readers programme to bring Book Box Libraries into under resourced schools in Kenya.

 

Ezekiel
Ezekiel

 

The school is in a poor area of the Northern Rift Valley of Kenya where many families struggle to put enough food on the table. Ezekiel’s pupils often come to school hungry, surviving on one meal a day.

Ezekiel told us how, in these challenging circumstances, he believes the books you help to send are the key to pulling his community out of poverty:

When I see books in school, I see the success of this school. In a school with books, there is knowledge and there is prosperity.

In this area, there is a problem with food. This school is in a semi-arid region. It is hot and there is no growing of crops. Most people keep some free animals – that is the main economic activity that they do.

 

Korieama surrounds
Koriema is situated in a hot, semi-arid region

 

Because of this environment, pupils come from poor backgrounds. Children come to school hungry. In fact they survive on just one meal. Their families cannot afford meals. Some of them fall asleep in class because of hunger. Some of them come to school without pens. There are so many basic needs they are lacking.

 

We are going to solve this long term problem once and for all if you continue giving us books. Some may think that it’s better to be given food instead of books. Food is for the stomach and it will help, but books are for knowledge and knowledge is long-lasting. So you see when they get the books, they learn, they perform better, they go for further studies, they come back, they get good jobs and now the communities will improve.

 

Reading new books in class
Engrossed in brand new books in the new school library

 

Parents will get food, they will get clothing, they will get good houses, they will get water through these people. Once we have many people working in the community then food will never be a problem again.

So, books are very important. We’ll survive on them aside from food.

 

We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for funding Inspiring Readers in Kenya. Learn more about our work in Kenya and our Inspiring Readers programme using the links below.

 

Reader at Checha Primary School, Kenya

Inspiring Readers Kenya phase one report

In 2016, in partnership with the Kenya National Library Service (knls) we launched the first phase of our Inspiring Readers school libraries programme in Kenya. Twenty five schools took part and in October 2017, the first phase came to an end. This paper presents the key learnings from the first phase of the programme.

Programme background

Inspiring Readers aims to increase opportunities for primary school children to read by bringing brand new books into the classrooms of under resourced schools across Africa. So far, the programme has launched in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi. We hope to reach 250,000 primary school children through the programme by 2020. You can find out more about Inspiring Readers here.

Each participating school receives a Book Box Library filled with 1,250 brand new books including locally published titles. Two teachers and the head teacher from each participating school also attend training in library management and in how to bring books to life in the classroom. In addition, each school is linked to its local library which already has a Children’s Corner. The libraries act as hubs, providing teachers with additional support, extra books and the expertise of a professional librarian.

Key findings from phase one of Inspiring Readers in Kenya

Lessons learned include:

– Vibrant book rich school libraries contribute to pupils’ intellectual and academic growth.

Schools have seen an increase in pupil attainment since their libraries arrived. For example at Muringato Primary School, the score in Kiswahili improved from an average of 48 % to 54 %, English from 48 % to 50% and Science from 45% to 52% in the first term exams (end of March, 2017).

– A vibrant school library raises the profile of the school in the community.

Schools involved in the project are receiving greater pupils enrolments and gaining recognition locally as they share their books with other neighbouring schools.

– Follow up by hub librarians to schools is critical for the success of the project

Regular visits from the hub librarians has provided teachers with technical support, boosted their confidence and enabled the programme to run smoothly in the schools.

– Schools grow their libraries when they see the benefit among pupils

Seeing the positive effect of books on their pupils has led schools to seek to grow their book stocks further from other sources.

Read the full report here

Inspiring Readers Kenya is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank the players for their support!

 

Lagam library Kenya

Our top 10 highlights from 2017

Thanks to your support we achieved so much in 2017!

With your help, our books reached readers in TWENTY countries, over 88,000 primary school children are enjoying new books in school thanks to our Inspiring Readers programme, more than 5,000 books reached displaced people in Greece and much more besides.

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Take a look at the ten short clips below for more of our 2017 highlights.

 

Highlight 10

60-year-old Florence in Kenya joined an adult education class and using the books you helped to send, learned to read for the very first time.

Highlight 9

Schools and libraries in the Occupied Palestinian Territories received twice as many books.

Highlight 8

Our amazing donors smashed our Open Doors Children’s Corners appeal’s £600,000 target, giving thousands of children in seven countries vibrant reading spaces to discover books.

Highlight 7

30,000 brand new books reached readers in Rwanda.

Highlight 6

3,806 books were shipped to the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.

Highlight 5

5,541 books reached displaced people in Greece.

Highlight 4

Books you helped to send are now filling a library in rural Uganda where they are helping children develop a love of reading and farmers to cope with the effects of climate change.

Highlight 3

88,903 primary school children in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi now have brand new books in their classrooms thanks to our Inspiring Readers programme.

Highlight 2

Children in Nairobi’s slums are now enjoying Book Havens in three local libraries.

Highlight 1

Thanks to your support, we sent books to 20 countries, which will reach over 20 million readers!

Thank you for your support in 2017. Here’s to getting even more books to the people who need them the most in 2018!

For more information about the work you supported in 2017, take a look at the links below.

 

Pupils at Korieama Primary School

2017 year in review: 20 countries in just twelve months

As 2017 draws to a close, we are looking back over the last twelve months and forward to 2018. In this blog, our Chief Executive Alison Tweed reflects on the highlights from 2017 and gives us a preview of the year ahead.

This has been a year of change for our team at Book Aid International as we focused on putting our Vision 2020: Where Books Change Lives strategy into action. Launched in March, our new strategy commits us to ensuring that the books we send reach those who face the greatest barriers to accessing books.

 

Boys reading
Two friends share a book at Battir Library in the West Bank

 

To begin making that vision a reality, we focused on establishing partnerships in new countries where people lack the books they need, as well as continuing to support all our more longstanding library and education partnerships.

The books we provided reached people in some of the most difficult to reach places in the world who are determined to keep reading in the face of instability and uncertainty about the future. We sent books to universities in Somalia, to transit camps in Greece, to schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to the world’s youngest nation which continues to be gripped by conflict, South Sudan.

 

Pacifique leads a reading activity
Taking part in a reading activity at Esperance Community Centre’s library in Rwanda

 

We also doubled the number of books provided to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, sent books to the Caribbean island of Antigua to support people displaced from Barbuda and Dominica by Hurricane Irma and began sending books to Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana and The Gambia.

Inspiring Readers, Book Havens and more

In March of this year our flagship Inspiring Readers programme won the prestigious 2017 London Book Fair International Excellence Award in the category of Educational Initiatives. It was a fantastic boost for the programme which aims to bring books into the classrooms of 250,000 African primary school pupils by 2020.

 

Moi Primary readers
Pupils enjoy reading in class at Inspiring Readers school Moi Primary in Kenya

 

In 2017, we continued to expand the programme and today almost 89,000 pupils in Kenya, Cameroon and Malawi have books in their classrooms and trained teachers to help them discover how reading supports their learning.

Highlights of the year for me also included:

 

  • Helping reading and learning to flourish in Nairobi’s Mathare slum through our Book Havens project

 

Jason
Young reader Jason shows us his favourite place to read in his new Book Haven

 

  • Giving secondary school pupils in Zambia new resources to study and succeed in their exams by creating Study Hubs

 

Secondary school pupils using their study hub in Zambia
Secondary school pupils using books in their Study Hub at Choma Library

 

 

The people we reached

When I look back on 2017, more than anything I will remember the people who told us how the books we send are helping them to change their own lives.

I was particularly inspired by the words of 17 year old Lydia in Uganda who reminds us how determined people around the world are to read:

My dad always says ‘You shouldn’t go there, collecting books from there. Those books don’t help you.’ He doesn’t know how they help me. But my mum knows. She helps me go out to the library and get the books. I have already read all the fiction in the library – there are not enough now! We need more so we can keep learning. For me, I am going to be a writer, so I must keep reading!

[read more]

Lydia is just one of the estimated 24 million people who read the books we provide in any one year. We could not reach a single one of those readers without the new books that are so generously donated by publishers, the funds we receive from individuals, trusts and companies and the hard work of our volunteers. We would like to extend a very warm thank you to all of our supporters for all that you do.

Looking forward to 2018

In 2017 we sent over 930,000 books to a wide range of new and established partners.

In 2018 we are aiming to send up to 1.2 million books and we are expanding our warehouse operations in Camberwell to help us do just that.

 

Loading a shipment
Loading a shipment at our warehouse in London

 

We will also continue to implement our Inspiring Readers, Book Havens and Study Hub projects and we are currently exploring the next steps for our work providing e-books alongside print books for children.

We are very much looking forward to a year of new partnerships and new opportunities to reach those who need books most and we hope that you will join us as we continue to work toward a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.

 

Alfred and his two sons

MEDIA RELEASE: 98,814 African primary school pupils inspired to read

Nothing in the world can give an education apart from reading

Book Aid International is delighted to announce that its 2017 London Book Fair International Excellence Award-winning Inspiring Readers programme has now brought books to the classrooms of 98,814 African primary school pupils in Kenya, Malawi and Cameroon.

One parent who has seen the benefits of Inspiring Readers up close is Kenyan teacher Alfred, shown left with his sons, in the Kenyan town of Kabarnet. Alfred works in an Inspiring Readers school and his two sons also attend a school which benefits from the programme.

Like most parents in the area, Alfred cannot afford to buy books for his home, so Inspiring Readers offers a vital chance for his sons to access enriching, brand new books. He told us about why he thinks Inspiring Readers is so important:

“I am a teacher and also a farmer – I have a small farm to supplement my income. The food I grow on the farm enables me to have food for my family. If I was told I had to buy some books for my children, I would struggle. I would be forced to sell an animal so that I can get some little money. But books are to prepare the child for future life, so I have to struggle. Books are very important. Nothing in the world can give an education apart from reading!

“My children, when they come home, they introduce us to the new books that they have learned in school. They tell us the stories. We really enjoy it. We feel there is something good happening at the school – and it’s because of the books they have there.”

Alfred’s children are just two of almost 99,000 pupils benefitting from Inspiring Readers and Book Aid International plans to expand the programme in 2018. In total, the charity hopes to reach 250,000 African school pupils through Inspiring Readers. The charity’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, talked about programme’s progress so far and plans for the future.

“We are delighted with the progress made this year thanks to the hard work of our library partners and all the teachers who have participated in the programme. Together we are making a real difference to the lives of children and to their communities as well by giving them a chance to discover the joy of reading. Inspiring Readers is just getting underway in Uganda and we are looking forward to expanding the programme further next year.”

The charity would also like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting Inspiring Readers in Kenya and Malawi. Players have so far provided a total of £900,000 to help Book Aid International send books to readers around the world.

Inspiring Readers aims to dramatically increase the books and support available to African primary school pupils by setting up school libraries, training teachers in how to use books in their classrooms and linking schools with public libraries. To learn more about Inspiring Readers visit www.bookaid.org/inspiring-readers.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information, high resolution images and comment please contact Jenny Hayes, Communications Executive at Book Aid International.

e: jenny.hayes@bookaid.org
t: 020 7326 5801

About Book Aid International

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity aims to ship around one million brand new books to thousands of communities around the world where people have very few opportunities to access books and read. All of the books the charity sends are generously donated by publishers.

Book Aid International works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends reach as many people as possible. The charity estimates that the books it provides reach 24 million people every year.

In addition, Book Aid International runs projects which build the capacity of librarians and teachers to support people and communities.

Visit www.bookaid.org for more information or join the conversation on twitter: @book_aid.

About People’s Postcode Lottery

  • People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally
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Alfred and his children

‘Nothing in the world can give an education apart from reading’

Alfred lives just outside the city of Kabarnet in Kenya. Thanks to a good education, he is now a primary school teacher in addition to being a farmer. Unlike many in his community, he has the means to ensure that his family have enough to eat. Even so, items like books are luxuries he can rarely afford. Alfred believes education has a vital role to play in overcoming food poverty. Here he explains why education and access to brand new books are so important for the next generation to flourish.

The challenge people have is providing food, especially here.

I am a teacher and also a farmer – I have a small farm to supplement. The food I grow on the farm enables me to have food for my family. My wife is a farmer too. She also sells items at the market. Her small business keeps us going.

I managed to join teacher training college. Then I went for my diploma and then I joined university for my first degree. Education enables people to acquire skills. From there, they can look for work that can enable them to provide enough food.

The main resource for education is books. The books are preparing the children, helping them move ahead.

The teacher, is the first priority, after that, we must supplement with books.

If I was told I had to buy some books for my children, I would struggle. I would be forced to sell an animal so that I can get some little money. But books are to prepare the child for future life, so I have to struggle. Books are very important.

 

Reading outside
Every day, children read outside after lunch, before lessons restart

 

Our Inspiring Readers programme has brought a book box library of brand new books to Alfred’s children’s school meaning providing his children with access to books will no longer be a challenge. He and other parents are already seeing their children benefit from the books:

I can say we are very happy. At my children’s school, we are seeing that the books have changed the life of the children – they have developed a reading culture. You find them reading by themselves in the classroom, so they enjoy reading.

 

Alfred and his children
Alfred and his children

 

My children, when they come home, they introduce us to the new books that they have learned in school. They tell us the stories. We really enjoy it. We feel there is something good happening at the school – and it’s because of the books they have there.

Our wish is to provide enough education for our children. We pray that we have enough resources to educate them. And the best education is provision of books. Because there is nothing in the world that can give an education apart from reading.

 

We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for funding Inspiring Readers in Kenya and giving children in Alfred’s community the chance to enjoy brand new books to enjoy in school.

 

Riamukurwe Primary

New libraries and favourite books

Justine, Wilson and Dorcas are just three of the thousands of children who are now enjoying brand new books in class thanks to our Inspiring Readers programme.

Here, they tell us about about their new libraries and favourite books.

 

The teachers at Justine’s school in Cameroon have just attended training with librarians from the local library on how to bring books to life in the classroom. Her new school library will be arriving soon and she can’t wait:

 

Justine, Cameroon

 

I do not have a library at my school. I think libraries are important because they help pupils to learn how to read. I like reading books, but I don’t have any books at home. I will use my new library at least once a week and try to read at least three books per week. I am excited about the new library coming to my school.

Justine, class 5 pupil, Bastos Primary School, Cameroon

 

Wilson and Dorcas’s schools now have their Book Box Libraries. They are enjoying library lessons and discovering new books:

 

Wilson, Kenya

 

My favourite book is about a 15-year-old boy named Michael who goes on adventures. He sees dolphins and waves. I like it because it teaches us to have hope. Also the pictures are awesome!

Wilson, 12, Riamukurwe Primary School, Kenya

 

Dorcas, Kenya

 

My favourite book is Frankie’s Magic Football. It is about a team of players, children, who go for adventures using a magic ball. They go to New York City and find themselves in the Statue of Liberty!

Dorcas, 13, Nyamachaki Primary School, Kenya

 

Our London Book Fair International Excellence Award-winning Inspiring Readers programme is now bringing the joy of books and reading to over 88,000 pupils in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi whose schools did not have libraries and where in many classrooms, children were sharing one book between many. We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for funding Inspiring Readers Kenya and Malawi. 

We are now looking to expand the programme to Uganda and beyond. Find out more about the award-winning programme and how you can get involved using the links below.