Across the globe nearly 171 million children could be lifted out of poverty if they left school with basic reading and writing skills. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
Peace Corps Volunteers organized a Readers Theater competition in Panama to actively engage their students in reading, writing and speaking English.
Readers Theater is an integrated learning approach in which students read a script aloud and use their voice, facial expressions and gestures to bring the scene to life – without stage settings, costumes or props. Nearly 200 students from fourth grade to high school performed in small groups to practice using their voice and intonation to tell the stories of childhood favorites from the U.S., including Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, author of “The Giving Tree.” The competition, which included students from 15 different schools, gave the participants the opportunity to develop fluency and enhance their reading comprehension.
More than 20 posts across the globe are working in literacy and early-grade reading as primary projects, and even more Volunteers do secondary projects focused on literacy, reading and writing, and enhancing literacy in their communities through books and reading. Much like the focused efforts of the UNICEF programs I worked with as a Volunteer, our efforts today focus on the foundational skills young learners need to “crack the code” of reading.
Elements of the story are pulled from a number of my experiences in Madagascar as a Peace Corps Volunteer and from my own childhood. I want to give children in Madagascar the opportunity to engage with a character that they find courageous, spirited and curious as she learns about malaria.
Peace Corps Volunteers Raegan and Patrick Spencer are educating schoolchildren in Madagascar about the causes and dangers of malaria and disease prevention through storytelling. The couple wrote, illustrated and published The Story of Soa and the Moka, a 40-page children’s book, along with an accompanying classroom curriculum that will be distributed throughout communities across Madagascar.
Happy National Library Week! Here are some highlights from our Digital Library featuring library projects from Volunteers around the world. You can also help fund current projects through the Peace Corps Partnership program.
Bianca, an 11th grader, helps fifth graders sound out words in a Dr. Seuss book as part of a project aiming to promote English and reading. The books were donated by friends in the United States. The 5th graders loved the attention from high schoolers and the chance to show of their English skills. The high schoolers loved the break from the routine and the chance to present, on behalf of the American donors, the books. It also helped bond students from different schools.