I should have posted this ages ago so ignore the date! Just four weeks before I left Nigeria I got a grant of 100,000 naira from VSO. It was a bit of a mad scramble but I managed to buy 500 story books from Macmillan at a special rate of 200 naira per book and out of my allowance I bought plastic crates to pack the books in. The best part was taking the books to the schools! I had already funded schools in Ilorin, Asa and Oro so decided to take books to another LGEA called Moro which does not do as well as other areas. The schools are also linked to a university there where David, our Canadian friend works. He is trying to help the communities and got some children into schools by finding funds to buy school uniforms and pay the PTA levy. Despite the claim that all children have acces to education lots of children still don't attend school because of having to pay the levy and have a uniform which is compulsory.So I went with the SSIT to deliver the books. At each school a child came to collect them and take them to the teachers. All the teachers in Kwara have now been trained in the new reading methods so it was good to observe them in practice.
At the start of each literacy lesson pupils in these schools can now enjoy reading real story books with Nigerian themes.
Some of the children had never seen a book apart from a text book and we had to tell them that they were allowed to open them. The teachers did a good job of introducing the books to the children-this was part of the training. It was very rewarding to see the children so absorbed. Even the children who couldn't read much were able to take part as the books are graded to include books for beginners with lots of pictures.
The children are in groups. At a training one teacher asked what to do about children who couldn't read at all. My response would have been to ability group them but Philip had a much better solution-he said the ones who could read would help the ones who couldn't. It is so much better to let them come up with their own solutions. Their solutions are based on experience in teaching in Nigeria where 'ofsted' ideals have to be greatly modified-this has been a real learning curve for me!