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READ BEYOND ZAMBIA
According to the Ministry of Education, only six per cent of pupils have desirable levels of performance in literacy, and about 10 per cent have desirable levels in numeracy (MOE, 2010). This one of the reasons why an average Zambian pupil fails to read or write.
The situation is worse in peri urban high density areas like Kalingalinga and Chibolya compounds of Lusaka. The compounds are not spared from the high numbers of school dropouts, poor school attendance in addition to the generally lack a literate environment. This is partly why the children who were once literate risk losing even the initial literacy they had. For those who can read, like most of today’s population, read for specific, short term ends especially for examinations. This has led to underdeveloped literacy abilities among children and youths.
Illiteracy disadvantages children thus making them vulnerable; such children cannot maximise future learning opportunities, and they perpetuate the poverty cycle. They grow up into illiterate adults who are greatly disadvantaged and disempowered. On the other hand, children who read widely excel at school, and generally in life. They are pro-active in seeking solutions.
The introduction of 24 hours television and rental movies have contributed to the mushrooming of illegal ‘movie’ houses where even young children are exposed to uncensored films. In most homes, parents are absent most of the times, leaving children to spend all their free time watching movies and cartoons that do little to improve their interest in books and stimulate their minds. There is limited, if any, parental involvement to enable children practice reading at home.
Read Beyond Zambia (RBZ) responded with the “Buku Club”, a strategy to increase children’s access to variety reading materials and farther the use and development of their reading, writing and numeracy skills.
Since 2009, the Buku Clubs have provided children a rare opportunity to practice and improve their reading, writing and storytelling skills. Participants are children from the community with neither the luxury of nursery and pre-schooling nor the support of parents and reading space at home.
At Buku Club, apart from practising to read and write, children participate in spelling and speed reading exercises. The awards and prizes given to deserving winners positively reinforce the learning, emphasise the tangible benefits of reading and motivates others to read even wider.
Once children develop the love for reading, it would contribute to improved learning outcomes in formal school.
To facilitate increased use of the Buku Club and other RBZ activities services in Kalingalinga.
To increase community awareness on the importance of stimulating an early love for reading among vulnerable children in Kalingalinga.
To demonstrate how children can practice, maintain, improve and develop the acquired reading and writing competences.
To demonstrate and present reading as a fun, enjoyable and beneficial activity essential for lifelong learning.
To mobilise and strengthen local community involvement in Buku Club activities.
Kalingalinga residents increase their knowledge of Buku Clubs as a child friendly service where children practice, develop & maintain their reading and writing competences.
More community engagement in promoting Buku Club activities
Children and the community in general participate in reading, writing and story-telling activities that stimulate their creative and critical thinking skills.
Parents and guardians support children’s reading activities.
Mini children’s spelling,
Mini speed reading and
Tour of the reading room
Dance / performance
Tour of Reading Room, RBZ office
Activities punctuated with dance and other performances
Guest of Honour