Saturday, November 08, 2008

Libraries do really simple things to encourage reading and literacy

It occurred to me the other day, that the libraries FAVL supports are not doing some of those simple things. I know why not: in the village environments where FAVL operates, even very basic literacy functionality is not part of local common-sense. None of the librarians, nor any parents, have ever seen the simple literacy-encouraging techniques that well-developed school systems are so adept at: making posters, drawings, plays, "projects", puppet theater, etc. So one of our goals for 2009 is to foster more of that spirit in the libraries. So we'll go out and hire a literacy consultant to work out and implement a program, right? Wrong. Money we have, for that? No Yoda, no money. So we'll do it ourselves. And one place to start is by "edicting." So here's my thought for the memo to the librarians. Starting January 2009, every month of the year is a theme month. Your job is to program activities in the month that will tie into that theme, especially for children and new literates, as a way of encouraging literacy. You have no budget for this (that is why it is an edict). An unfunded mandate! And we expect results.

January - Politics month. Who are political leaders? What are different systems of government? Question and answer session with mayor.
February - The World Geography month. Learn about different countries of the world. Map quizzes. Color maps.
March - Artist month - Learn about drawing and painting. Art competitions. Learn about artists of the country and the world.
April- Masks month. Draw and make masks. Learn the meaning of masks of different ethnic groups.
May - Agriculture month. Do activities relating to seeds and crops. Drawings of crops. naming crops. celebrating rare crops. Spelling bee for names of crops.
June - Summer reading month - Learn what are good books to read in the summer on your own. share best books.
July - Break for rainy season
August - Break for rainy season
September - think of something!
October - think of something!
November - think of something!
December - think of something!

So now someone has to come up with a librarian "packet" to help the librarians organize each months activities, and think of the materials they might need, and ask what could be done with a $10 budget per library per month.

Well, this is just my thought of the day. Now to consult with FAVL board members, regional coordinators, and librarians themselves. Let's see if it is an idea with legs. it sure walks a long way in our libraries here in San Jose. But, honestly, this would be a experience revolution in village sin Burkina Faso.

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