Literacy Instruction: The benefits of preserving community learning spaces
By Benjamim Capito, Communications Coordinator
A teacher is like a candle that dissipates darkness and stirs up knowledge in the minds and hearts of students. And because learning goes beyond the walls of the classroom, there is a place where the flame of knowledge continues to burn. That place is the reading camp, where children, after school, can practice literacy core skills through the following activities: story time, activity time, make-and-take and journaling.
Reading camp promoters also carry the light that facilitates children’s journey in attaining more comprehension of what is taught in the classroom.
Tomé Gomes is a reading camp promoter in the community of Errua, Muecate district, in the northern province of Nampula, where he works with children from 1st to 3rd grade, enrolled in Errua Primary School.
Like every reading camp promoter, Tomé is a volunteer, which means that he doesn’t receive a paycheck, like a primary school teacher, but he is motivated to lead reading camp sessions because, through his work, he sees the improvement of children´s literacy abilities.
“I’m in my 5th year as a reading camp promoter and I see changes brought by the Educating Children Together project. Children who were shy and couldn’t read or write properly now are displaying their capabilities with more confidence,” he said.
According to the promoter, reading camp sessions take place two days a week, after the school period. To stimulate learning, these spaces are equipped with a diversity of materials, such as storybooks, notebooks, pencils, posters of letters, and boards, to name a few.
“We also produce learning materials with resources that we obtain in the surrounding area,” he pointed out.
Because of his commitment to the reading camp sessions, Tomé Gomes was selected by the Educating Children Together – Phase III (ECT-3) project to be a trainer/facilitator of current and aspiring reading camp promoters.
“The project was looking for promoters who could apply their knowledge to instruct others and I was chosen here in Errua. It has been two years since I was appointed to be a facilitator and my goal is to motivate others to continue leading reading camp sessions even after the project ends,” he hopes.
ECT-3 project is implemented by World Vision-Moçambique (WV-Moç) in the districts of Muecate and Nacarôa, in Nampula province, with funding from the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Nutrition Program under the Food Assistance Division of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Within the literacy approach, the project has established 530 reading camps and, during the life of the project, 1600 community volunteers will be identified and trained as reading camp facilitators.
As the ECT-3 moves towards phasing-out, which will be finalized in 2024, World Vision is on a path to building capacity and transferring knowledge to the communities so that literacy activities will continue to take place. With more promoters like Tomé Gomes, communities have better chances to preserve literacy learning spaces for children.