Ten-year-old Addisu is a grade 3 student living in Tullo District of Oromia Region, Ethiopia. He is the first born in his family and has one brother and one sister. He is one of the 120 children attending at the World Vision-established Metteleya Literacy Boost reading club.
“I have been participating in the reading club since January, 2014,” says Addisu. “We learn here on weekends and during school breaks. We read and tell stories, draw pictures that represent letters, play letter-matching games, sing songs and we can also borrow books.”
“We learn here on weekends and during school breaks. We read and tell stories, draw pictures, play letter-matching games, sing songs and we can also borrow books.”
Addisu’s favourite story is called ‘The Silly Boy’. “The boy shooed the birds with coins,” says Addisu. “He did that because he was not educated and he was silly. This tells me that learning changes one from not knowing to knowing.”
Addisu admits that before participating in the Literacy Boost reading club, he didn’t understand the value of education. “I used to spend way more of my time playing,” he says. “I changed my mind after I came here. When I first came here, I only knew names of very few letters but now I can read fluently.”
During his first semester of this academic year, Addisu became first in his class and is trying to maintain the same rank in the second semester. “I have never missed sessions in the reading club because I am aware of its value. I am also urging my siblings to come here.”
The sitting arrangements and the learning sessions at the reading club are more interactive, participatory and child-friendly than the regular classes Addisu attends at school. “At school, we sit on desk but here on mats which makes us feel more relaxed,” he says.
Addisu reads a story to his friends at a reading club. (Photo credit: Feleseta Kassaye / World Vision)
“We study different subjects but here one story touches all subjects. I prefer to ask questions here than [at school] because we see the [reading club facilitators] like our own elder siblings. They advise and encourage me all the time.”
The role of World Vision have been immense in creating such a learning environment. “World Vision built this reading club and additional blocks in our school three years ago. Had it not been for World Vision, we would have class under a tree or walked long distances to a faraway school,” Addisu says.
“I wanted to volunteer for this programme because I really want to help the children,” says Jemal. “I used to struggle with reading when I was at their age."
Jemal Muktar, 20, the reading club facilitator has been serving the camp from the beginning. “I wanted to volunteer for this programme because I really want to help the children,” says Jemal. “I used to struggle with reading when I was at their age. Speaking in front of the pupils was the toughest thing for me at that time. Now, I am proud when I see children like Addisu. He used to play most of the time and had problems in reading, but now he is one of the fluent readers in the session.”
Addisu’s mother, Hirut, has also noticed her son’s progress. “He didn’t like to read but now he is enjoying reading stories for us. He is also supporting his siblings in their education. It is the Literacy Boost programme opened by World Vision that has made the difference. It is all because of this reading club.”
Since 2014, World Vision has built a total of 40 reading clubs, created 151 new story book titles, trained 120 reading camp volunteers, and is serving 3,792 children, including 1,502 girls, in Tullo District.
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 Literacy Boost is a copyrighted tool designed, developed, and owned by Save the Children.