Bringing a world of reading into the classroom
Inspiring Readers is our flagship school library programme, which launched in 2016 and will benefit primary school children in seven countries. By providing Book Box Libraries to primary schools and training for teachers in bringing the books to life in the classroom, we hope to improve the reading opportunities of a quarter of a million children in Africa.
The need for this programme
In many schools in sub-Saharan Africa, books are scarce. Although much investment has been made in many countries to provide textbooks, very few schools have their own libraries – for example, in Kenya, it is estimated by our partner Storymoja that only 2% of public primary schools have libraries. Since the Millennium Development Goals were set, many countries in Africa have made great strides in their provision of primary school places, but as more children have entered the classroom, schools have struggled to provide adequate resources such as books, and this is affecting the way that children learn.
According to the UN there are still 48 million young people in sub-Saharan Africa who are functionally illiterate.
We aim to change this. We believe every child should have the opportunity to read so we aim to transform the reading journeys of around a quarter of a million African children by providing them with brand new, inspirational and appealing books in their classrooms.
It will cost around £2,600 to supply each school with their new libraries and to train their teacher. In order to do this we need to raise just over £800,000.
Over the next four years, 310 primary schools will each receive a Book Box Library packed full of brand new, carefully selected books. Each school will receive 1,250 brand new books including locally published titles and teachers from each school will have the opportunity to attend training with their local library to help them make the most of the books we send and bring them to life in the classroom.
The books will be suitable for the youngest readers (picture books and simple readers) right through to upper primary school children (readers, fiction and non-fiction, story and picture books).
In total, we hope to reach a quarter of a million African children.
Inspiring Readers not only brings books into schools but encourages children to use their local library. We use public and community libraries with Children’s Corners as hubs for schools in the surrounding area, giving children access to larger book collections, vibrant library spaces and the passion and expertise of their local librarians. The programme will be closely monitored throughout and we will continue to support the schools involved.
Inspiring Readers launched in Kenya in June 2016 and will begin in Cameroon later this year. We then hope to expand the programme to Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. The first schools to benefit from Inspiring Readers are in Kenya. The books for their libraries have already been shipped from the UK and we ran training for librarians in June. The librarians are now running training sessions for teachers to help them make the most of the books in the classroom.