Literacy through Literature
Bringing culturally and age appropriate books to beginning language learners
Background: The Ugandan curriculum is based on an outdated British model designed to educate the wealthy and not the poor. Due to cost and availability, books are rarely used in the classroom and novels are often not read until the last two years of secondary school. Like most other African cultures, the Ugandan tribes are orally based meaning that there are few if any cultural stories written and available to children. Many of the parents are illiterate. When a teacher is able to obtain a book for use in the class, it is often only one, which again means that the students are hearing rather than reading the story.
The love for stories by children and adults has always existed and is demonstrated by the rich oral storytelling tradition in Uganda. But the development of a reading culture has been ignored in schools and homes due mostly to the scarcity of quality books by Ugandans and about Ugandan culture.
Teaching children to learn to read with books, and not just any books, books with stories they recognize, stories of their own surroundings and cultural heritage.
How We Are Doing It: We collected stories written by children and adults from the myths and fables passed down through their oral tradition. The books were illustrated by secondary students, using art workshops to help students develop their skills and talents. These books have been edited into beginning reader format and translated into the local language. To date, two have been published locally and distribution has begun!
We publish the stories with the purpose of the program becoming self-sustaining. The one for one book program model allows profits from sales to go back into the development, printing, and distribution of more books.
- Allow young people to earn a small income using their creative talents
- Increase cultural acceptance of story books as a tool for increasing literacy rates
- Preserve storytelling culture and Ugandan oral tradition
The books are given to nursery and primary schools and sold to other organizations and individuals, all profits will be put into the development, printing, and distribution of more books.
An awesome byproduct is the appeal to everyone in the family!