“Read at least 15 minutes a day with your child,” Permanent Secretary Mulindwa urges parents

The Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC Samuel Mulindwa has urged parents to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading together with their children at home to boost a culture of reading while improving their children literacy skills and ultimately to better their learning outcomes.

The message was delivered on Wednesday 5th in Burera District, Kagogo Sector at E.P. Sozi, while the Permanent Secretary with the USAID Mission Director Leslie Marbury were launching the National Reading Campaign under the theme “Make Time for Reading!”

As part of his remarks during the campaign launch, the Permanent Secretary in MENEDUC Samuel Mulindwa urged parents, teachers, and head teachers to make time for reading, stating: “Now that the books are in schools and in communities, children need the time and support to use these resources.”
“Teachers and head teachers need to ensure that ALL teachers are using the Kinyarwanda teacher’s guide effectively, make time for children to read at school and encourage children to take books home to practice their reading. We count on you, parents, to find at least 15 minutes every day to sit with your children to listen to them read, and to support them in taking care of these valuable books and return them to school in good condition. This is children’s time for reading! It is schools’ time to teach students to read and to lend them the reading books! And this is parents’ time to help children to read. This is Rwanda’s Time for Reading! Together we can ensure that that all students learn to read by the end of P3,” the Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC added.

The Campaign by the Ministry of Education and partners from the Soma Rwanda platform demonstrates Rwanda’s commitment to take necessary actions to improve children’s reading outcomes. Literacy is foundational to transform the country into a thriving, knowledge-based economy.

The aim of the “Make Time for Reading!” campaign, which will run through December 2020, is to prioritize reading at school, at home and in the community.

The National Reading Campaign launches at an opportune time, with efforts being made over the last year to bring millions of books into schools and communities.
A USAID Mission Director Leslie Marbury echoed the Permanent Secretary in MINEDUC Samuel Mulindwa in her remarks: “USAID Rwanda is partnering with the Ministry of Education, the Rwanda Education Board, schools, and communities to ensure that every child can read with confidence by the end of Primary 3. USAID is proud to have supported REB to deliver 1.3 million Kinyarwanda textbooks to schools, so that every child in grades 1-3 can now have their own copy of a Kinyarwanda textbook. USAID Rwanda is also proud to be partnering with REB to deliver nearly 4 million storybooks to establish classroom libraries in P1-3 classrooms in every public and government-aided primary school in the country. Our collective goal is that all children have plenty of materials to practice reading and to become excellent readers.

The evidence from Rwandan schools and from around the world is clear: reading is critical for a student’s academic success, and it’s also critical for a country’s sustained economic growth. Parents, make time for your child to practice reading at home and to attend community reading clubs, because children need that extra practice at home for reading to become quick and easy. Making time for your child to read - even just 15 minutes a day - will really support them to learn to read quickly and easily!”

While the national launch took place in Burera District, the campaign was also launched in the other 29 districts of Rwanda.

Key facts

- USAID Soma Umenye has supported the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to distribute 1,314,084 P1-P3 Kinyarwanda student textbooks in all public and government-aided schools—with each student having received a textbook.
- USAID Soma Umenye has also partnered with REB has also established classroom libraries in those P1-P3 classrooms. Over 900,000 storybooks have already been distributed; the total number of storybooks in classrooms across the country will reach nearly 1.4 million by the end of March. 54 of the titles in the classroom libraries are Andika Rwanda readers, which were written by Rwandan children, for Rwandan children, and printed in Rwanda.
- Last year, REB approved the use of revised Kinyarwanda reading benchmarks, which define the level P1, P2 and P3 children should achieve at the end of each year. USAID Soma Umenye is supporting REB and schools to measure students reading performance against the new benchmarks.
- USAID Mureke Dusome has established community reading clubs across Rwanda and has supplied those clubs with over 400,000 storybooks.