“They read the story once,” Graciela said, “and then they read it again, but change some important detail. Then their families have to catch the mistake. It’s a simple comprehension exercise that they’re repeating at home. It’s wonderful to see.”
Through innovative and imaginative programs, Child Aid and its supporters are helping indigenous children learn to read and get the education they deserve.
A year ago, if you took a bus out to the indigenous village of Godínez, high above Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, you’d have found an elementary school nearly empty of books. It’s hard to imagine a school without books, but it’s true – and not just in Godínez. It’s a reality in rural communities throughout the country. No wonder Mayan children face such difficulties learning to read.
In 2010, we launched our Books to Villages program to address this problem. Through the program, we deliver rotating boxes of children’s books – by car, motorcycle or truck – to our remotest partner communities. Then we distribute them to classrooms and help teachers set up lending and reading programs that actively engage children in the new books and inspire them to read.
This year, we expanded the program to Godínez. As in other communities, it’s been a huge success. Now, not only are children taking books home, they’re reading out loud to their parents and siblings. Graciela Sajbochol, a Child Aid literacy trainer who works in Godínez, told us that the kids are even using techniques that they learned in Child Aid’s classroom literacy sessions.