To commemorate another successful year of our school break reading program, last month the Child Aid staff put together it’s first “Adventures in Reading Newspaper.” Articles contributed by both staff and librarians highlighted activities, special events and accomplishments from the 36 school, community and municipal libraries who participated in the program this year.
The newspaper was shared with librarians at a wrap-up event held December 6th in Tecpán. Librarians and staff gathered to celebrate their accomplishments, share their experiences and discuss ways to improve and expand their programs next year.
The articles and group discussions focused around three aspects of the Adventures in Reading program: promotion and community outreach, educational programs and activities and techniques for engaging kids and maintaining attendance.
“This event is a celebration, but we also approach it as part of the librarians’ training,” said Library Development Coordinator Carlos Pos. “It gives them an opportunity to reflect on the work they have done. It is also a way for librarians from different communities to share and learn from each other.”
This year, a total of 2,300 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years participated in the Adventures in Reading programs which were held from late October through early December.
During their time in the library, the children had the opportunity to hear books being read, write their own stories, read independently and play educational games in spaces designed for use by every age. Some libraries also integrated other activities with themes related to the environment, arts and crafts.
To enhance the educational depth of the programs, this year staff and librarians worked together to add several new activities. In addition to regular read-aloud sessions, many libraries hosted book clubs for higher level readers. Run by Child Aid staff, the clubs gave kids the experience of reading more challenging books and sharing their thoughts and opinions in a discussion group. Libraries also focused on a variety of writing activities such as producing a school newspaper, creating personal journals and writing contests.
At the end of the wrap-up event, the Child Aid team presented awards to individuals and libraries to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments in the three focus areas. The librarians expressed satisfaction with the success of the Adventures in Reading program this year and the importance of their work promoting a love of reading and writing with the children in their communities.
Excerpts from the Adventures in Reading Newspaper
Read a selection of articles submitted by Child Aid staff and participating librarians and see photos from this year’s program.
El Tejar Mayor Visits Adventures in Reading
By Marielena Ixen, Child Aid Literacy Trainer
On November 11th, municipal officials from El Tejar visited the children at the library at San Miguel Morazán to attend a session of Adventures in Reading run by librarian Amalia Muñoz.
During the visit, Mr. Manolo Méndez, mayor of El Tejar and a former librarian, read the story of the “Beautiful Nose of the Grandmother” to more than eighty children. During the reading, he highlighted the characters and important events of the story, ending with some questions to get the children’s participation. He was happy to see the smiles and attention of every one of the children while they listened attentively to the story.
After the reading, the mayor and his wife congratulated all of the children for participating in the Adventures in Reading program and for taking advantage of the opportunity to help themselves prepare for a better future.
Adventures in Reading a Big Success in Sumpango
By Luis Cubur, Librarian, Sumpango Municipal Library
In the Sumpango municipal library, we had a fabulous and entertaining Adventures in Reading program during the school vacation this year.
More than 200 boys and girls of different ages and from different schools in the city participated in the program. The program was planned and directed by head librarian Telma Morales. For two hours per week, the children gathered to hear stories read aloud, participate in activities and enjoy spending time in the library with many books to read.
For me, this program is very important because it helps the children get involved in the world of reading. Also, they can participate in something positive and not spend all of their vacation time at home watching television. I would recommend that the program not only be held during the vacations but also throughout the year because we have very little culture of reading in our communities.
The “Bookworms” Book Club
By Evelyn Camey, Child Aid Literacy Trainer
This year, the library in Chicacao, Suchitepéquez held it’s first book club as part of the Adventures in Reading program. Twenty youths read a book titled “El Libro Salvaje” (“The Wild Book”) by author Juan Villoro. They showed much interest and enthusiasm to be part of the club.
All of the students had participated in the Adventures in Reading program last year. So this year, they were ready to challenge themselves with a book more than 200 pages long! The kids attended every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of November. They started each session doing different activities and reading part of the book. They also had the opportunity to talk about the book with their fellow participants, sharing their observations and making connections between the story and their own lives. For the students, the purpose of the club was to enjoy themselves, form the habit of reading and become better readers.
An Early Start on Reading
by Norma Guzmán, Child Aid Literacy Trainer
The Child of Hope Project works with affiliated families with scarce resources, offering them health and education services for their children. This year the librarians from the Child of Hope Project’s library integrated activities for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old into their Adventures in Reading program, giving these young children an early introduction to books and reading.
The librarians demonstrated to the mothers how to read a book to their children, giving the children the the experience of manipulating and browsing a book. Using the technique of asking “What are the characters thinking?” the mothers were shown how to address themes such as the feelings of the characters in the book, giving the children the opportunity describe what they observe in the story and illustrations.
This is the first year that Lesbia Morales is participating in the program. She has three children, ages 12, 5 and 3. Lesbia commented that the project complements another Child of Hope program called “Nurturing with Affection,” allowing her to educate and raise her children with love and care.
Lesbia can especially see the change in her youngest child, three-year-old Fátima. Lesbia says Fátima expresses herself better, talks more and has an improved vocabulary. Also, when Fátima goes out of the house, she makes connections with what she has seen in her books.
Lesbia thinks the program is a great benefit, not only for Fatima but also for the other children who are now better at reading. She is proud of what she is learning so she can help her children have a better education. Now she dedicates time every day to read with her children. They enjoy learning how to read together.
Adventures in Reading Makes Young Journalists
By Jeremias Morales and Graciela Landa, Child Aid Training Coordinators
Child Aid always looks for ways to innovate and improve the reading and writing of children in the communities where we work. This year, we wanted to improve the Adventures in Reading program by creating a bridge between being a reader and becoming a writer. We introduced the children to how to become a writer through the magnificent tool of the school newspaper. This experience gave the children the opportunity to practice the writing process and write for a variety of audiences and try a variety of types of writing.
They began by writing news articles about local events. Later they conducted interviews with parents or prominent people in their communities. Through the medium of writing, they were able to make connections between previous knowledge and new knowledge.
During the course of the development of the school papers, the boys and girls had the opportunity to participate as reporters, editors or photographers but all gave their ideas and opinions about what they wanted to write about and communicate to the community.
With faces full of smiles and pride, the children participated with much enthusiasm and interest during these sessions of Adventures in Reading. The experience encouraged them to practice the characteristics of good writers.
We hope that more teachers and librarians will learn to use this newspaper activity with their students because it offers diverse reasons and audiences for the student’s writing and will help them find real success during this important phase of becoming a good reader and writer.
Spreading Reading Through the Community
By Graciela Landa, Child Aid Training Coordinator and Nancy Santizo, Child Aid Literacy Trainer
This year, the kids participating in the Adventures in Reading program in Agua Escondida joined with the librarian and the Child Aid team for walks through the town’s streets to promote reading in the community.
The walks were held every Friday during the month of November, inviting the community to access and use the books in the local library. The kids carried various books from the library with them and offered to loan books to people they met in homes and on the street who were interested in reading. The walks also promoted the library’s programs within the community and the importance of developing a habit of reading, not just for the children but for all of the members of the community.