Inspiring Readers Kenya phase one report
In 2016, in partnership with the Kenya National Library Service (knls) we launched the first phase of our Inspiring Readers school libraries programme in Kenya. Twenty five schools took part and in October 2017, the first phase came to an end. This paper presents the key learnings from the first phase of the programme.
Inspiring Readers aims to increase opportunities for primary school children to read by bringing brand new books into the classrooms of under resourced schools across Africa. So far, the programme has launched in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi. We hope to reach 250,000 primary school children through the programme by 2020. You can find out more about Inspiring Readers here.
Each participating school receives a Book Box Library filled with 1,250 brand new books including locally published titles. Two teachers and the head teacher from each participating school also attend training in library management and in how to bring books to life in the classroom. In addition, each school is linked to its local library which already has a Children’s Corner. The libraries act as hubs, providing teachers with additional support, extra books and the expertise of a professional librarian.
Key findings from phase one of Inspiring Readers in Kenya
Lessons learned include:
– Vibrant book rich school libraries contribute to pupils’ intellectual and academic growth.
Schools have seen an increase in pupil attainment since their libraries arrived. For example at Muringato Primary School, the score in Kiswahili improved from an average of 48 % to 54 %, English from 48 % to 50% and Science from 45% to 52% in the first term exams (end of March, 2017).
– A vibrant school library raises the profile of the school in the community.
Schools involved in the project are receiving greater pupils enrolments and gaining recognition locally as they share their books with other neighbouring schools.
– Follow up by hub librarians to schools is critical for the success of the project
Regular visits from the hub librarians has provided teachers with technical support, boosted their confidence and enabled the programme to run smoothly in the schools.
– Schools grow their libraries when they see the benefit among pupils
Seeing the positive effect of books on their pupils has led schools to seek to grow their book stocks further from other sources.