Open Library has been a great success at Mkwiro Primary School, and it was always one of my favourite times of day. The children were always so excited to come to the library they were often waiting outside the door! Thanks to previous fundraising, the school has a good collection of picture books, reading scheme sets, novels and information books. They are all second hand, but it is a wonderful resource for a school like Mkwiro, since there are no reading books in the classrooms, or even at home, other than students’ own textbooks.
|Reading books at open library|
So what is Open Library? Each class (currently Standards 4, 5, 6 and 7) come to the library once a week for an hour, with GVI community staff and volunteers, to practice their reading of English. The students read independently, while we make our way around the room to read with as many individuals as possible. Sometimes they read in pairs, helping one another, and sometimes in a group, as a guided session. The guided sessions have worked particularly well with the boys from Standard 4 who are currently performing well below the expected level. But always, whatever their ability level, the children are keen to have you listen to them read,
Over the last couple of months, we introduced story time at the end of the Open Library session, where a story or poem is read aloud to the whole class. They love picture books with themes and images they can relate to, like Goal! (Kenyan’s love their football!), The Lonely Giraffe, and The Rainbow Fish. Stories and poems are a wonderful way to enrich their vocabulary and understanding of language, and while they were unsure how to respond at first (since it was such a break away from their usual style of classroom learning) they all began to enjoy the routine and even join in!
|Kathryn reads with the kids at open library|
It doesn’t matter where in the world children are, and how old they are, they all respond to stories and the more you enjoy reading to them, the more they enjoy it. They don’t even realise they are learning! By the end of the school year, the students were choosing their favourite books and arranging the chairs themselves ready to listen to us read to them. What a joy! And as we walked around the school compound we started to hear children reciting “There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly”.
I don’t know why…
Kathryn Hodskinson – Community Volunteer