The New Times (Kigali)

25 November 2012

Rwanda: Primary Schools to Receive Story Books

In a bid to promote the reading culture in the country, the government through the Rwanda Education Board (REB) has launched a programme to distribute storybooks in primary schools.

The first phase will see the distribution of 900 storybooks, 200 of which are in Kinyarwanda, with support from Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) project.

L3 is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote the quality of education.

The Director of Languages and Humanities at REB, Augustin Gatera, said the initiative will encourage learners to read.

"I believe that through this initiative, learner's will be encouraged to read and learn given the wide choice of books which the libraries will be equipped with," Gatera said.

REB has already delivered lists of books available to schools countrywide to enable them to make specific orders for story books to stock their libraries. Schools will start receiving their orders by March next year.

In April, REB called for potential bidders to supply flash cards, alphabet charts and audio stories for primary schools as well as text books for secondary schools. REB officials said this would be the first time that primary school pupils have access to story books to effectively promote early literacy.

L3 Technical Director, Norma Evans, said the process to select the books was rigorous and based on a learner's reading level.

"If children are given books that are beyond their reading level, they can't read them. They quickly become discouraged and this translates into a negative perception of their reading abilities and of reading in general," said Evans.

She explained that giving children books that match their reading levels allows them to be successful readers and to develop confidence in their abilities.

In order for these books to truly have an impact, REB has urged teachers to allow children to take them home.

The latest initiative to promote reading follows many others including the introduction of mobile libraries to provide learners with access to reading materials.

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