Parents innovatively support reading club in Busasamana Sector
The Kavumu Reading Club in Busasamana Sector, Nyanza District is distinguished by high levels of community involvement. Parents innovatively repair damaged children’s storybooks and actively support reading sessions while the sector’s administrative authorities closely collaborate with the community to monitor the reading club.
Ismail Munyanziza, a parent from Busasamana Sector, testified that the reading club has at least 70 children who regularly attend. During each reading session, between 10 and 20 parents routinely accompany their children.
“Whenever I get a chance, I come to assist reading sessions. The reason I come here is to support my children and motivate them to be more attentive during the reading session,” says Munyanziza who consistently accompanies his children to the Kavumu Reading Club.
In normal circumstances, parents rarely go with their children to reading clubs. Yet at Kavumu Reading Club, parents say that attending sessions is a common practice.
Parents became more engaged after a sector-wide reading festival, which included a children’s reading competition, that was organized in Busasamana with children from all the reading clubs in the sector participating.
Apart from prizes like reading materials being awarded to winners, parents were encouraged to help their children improve their reading skills.
According to Margarita Mukanyandwi, one of the parents who attended the reading festival, she was encouraged to get more involved in her child’s reading ability after witnessing her child’s performance during the event and listening to literacy messages.
“During the competition, I realized that thanks to the reading club, my child’s reading ability improved. I decided to ensure that he keeps growing his skills, by supporting him at home, and coming to the reading club regularly,” says Mukanyandwi.
“I always make sure to remind him of the reading club schedule. When he is at home, I help him to understand what he is reading by asking him to read for me, and when he reads a word incorrectly, I ask him to read it again,” she adds.
The impact of those literacy messages becomes even more apparent after hearing the the case and testimony of Naome Kanziga, another parent from Kavumu Reading Club. Naome Kanziga recognized that it is a challenge when children’s story books become damaged over time and that, many of the Literacy Champions don’t have the skills to repair them. Sitting at her sewing machine where she is repairing damaged books from the Kavumu Reading Club, she explains, “When my child borrowed a book to read at home from the reading club, I saw that it was damaged. I decided to repair it; I sewed it. Then the literacy champions brought other books, and I sewed them all as well,” she says.
The action from Kanziga helped the reading club to preserve reading materials which would have been damaged further and destroyed had it not been for her involvement.
At Kavumu Reading Club the parents are willing to sacrifice their time, and in the case of Kanziga - their resources - to make sure that the reading club is functioning at the highest standards, and thus, having the most impact on their children’s reading ability.
The Literacy Champions appreciate the parents’ regular involvement and credit this act to the high level of collaboration and monitoring of the reading clubs in the sector by administrative authorities.
According to Honorée Bazubagira, one of the Literacy Champions, the Sector Education Officer (SEO) regularly asks how the reading sessions are conducted, and provides any support needed.
“She regularly speaks to us, asks how the reading club is performing. This has motivated us, and we feel well supported,” she says.
“That is what drives us forward, and keeps us going,” she adds.
Aloysia Mukandayisaba is the SEO in Busasamana Sector. She says that the core message delivered during reading festivals is a request for parents to help and incite their children to read at home, while ensuring that the Literacy Champions in the sector are supported.
“We always tell parents that they have to play an important role in improving their children’s literacy. Between the hours a child spends at school and those spent at home, parents must help children improve their literacy by reading together at home and providing any kind of support needed,” says Mukandayisaba.
This message is always delivered during reading festivals organized at the sector level and has already made the parents take responsibility and participate in reading clubs at a rate that is improving children’s literacy.