About 7,000 pupils in the Fanteakwa district of the Eastern Region have benefited from a reading programme organized by the World Vision International in Ghana (WVIG).
It was implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and sponsored by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), under the KOICA Literacy Boost Programme.
Beneficiaries were treated to songs, story time and word puzzles, among other activities and in a serene environment, all to make them read, from Kindergarten to Primary three in local languages.
Mr Christopher Teye, the Cluster Manager for the Area Programme (AP)-Afram Plains and Fanteakwa, said the project, is to improve reading with comprehension among children from the Kindergarten (KG) up to the Primary three level to enable them get a good foundation in education.
He made this known during a field trip to round up the two-year programme, which ends in 2018, in the beneficiary communities, including Osino, Bonusu and Abompe.
Mr Teye said they acquired the literacy skills from 161 reading camps manned by 480 volunteers; mostly Senior High School (SHS) leavers, where pupils sit on mats, play and learn at the same time in an open space.
The camps, he said, operate after normal school sessions twice in a week for 90 minutes, and have book banks attached to them, where the children are allowed to borrow them and practice at home with their parents or caretakers.
Children from KG to Primary three, who transit from home to school to learn a second language, are taught in their mother tongue on sounds, before reading, he explained.
It is expected that the various communities take up the management of the programme after the grant-sponsored programme by KOICA had ended.
He disclosed that a reading assessment conducted in 107 schools in the 79 communities within the AP catchment area, 6.5 per cent can read and understand in their language of instruction by Primary two as compared to the national rate which is a little over one per cent.
The Manager said 552 teachers in the lower Primary have been given training on latest methodology of teaching literacy to make the programme effective with coaching and monitoring assistance from the GES.
Mr Teye noted that 172,200 story books with 130 different titles have also been printed for the community library to support the open space periods.
He said since children’s wellbeing is at the heart of the WVIG, it has also provided facilities on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), empowered parents financially and others to holistically meet the needs of these vulnerable children.
Mr Teye said the areas were selected based on indicators such as vulnerability, physical disability, children with less than 30 per cent service function ability/lack of social amenities, children from broken homes or teenage mothers and others.
Mr Issaka Bukari, a parent thanked the WVIG for the initiative and was pleased with how his two-year girls’ reading ability had improved, and urged parents to support the project, when it is handed over to the communities to help give a good foundation to their wards.