Sunday, August 17, 2008

FAVL director Leslie Gray visits some of the summer reading camps

Arriving in Sara to see the reading camps, the first thing I noticed was children jumping and singing, not reading. It dawned on me that this experience for the kids was much more than academic, it was social and fun, just like summer camp in the United States. The children were singing, doing art projects, theater, calisthenics, and spending a lot of time reading and discussing books. They got two nutritious meals a day, and a t-shirt, which is a big thing in Burkina Faso. The levels of ability to read were quite different, but I was told that many of the children had progressed quite significantly from the first day of camp. At the end of each day, children would take home a book that they would then read at night.

What an incredible opportunity this has been for village children. Certainly this is the only camp that they will ever attend. In Bereba after the camp ended, many of the children were very sad. The camps have been so popular that parents have approached the librarians and said that they want more of them and would pay for them. Several of the camp teachers noticed changes in the kids. First, their reading improved. Second, they became much more vocal in giving opinions and third, they became very attached to the libraries. In fact, the children frequent the library much more than they did before. Overall, these have been an enormous success. We have to try to do this again next year!

1 comment:

Susan said...

That's great Leslie! Can't wait to hear more about it when you get back.