This article is an edited version. Please link here to see the full version: Literacy Development – School Club Zambia

In my class there is a girl names Charity, this girl never knew how to write and read. She was a very shy girl and she never answered questions. Since the Happy Readers books this girl has improved very much and can now even stand in front of the class and read aloud! – Mr Mukwenga, Kampasa School for OVCs

In December 2014 SCZ undertook a baseline analysis of literacy levels across our 3 partner schools. We tested the literacy levels of over 300 children with the following results:

  • 6% of children scored the expected level (or above) for their Grade.
  • 94% of children scored below the expected level for their Grade.
  • 78% of children scored 2 or more years below the expected level for their Grade.

Through implementing the Happy Readers literacy scheme and training programme within schools, we aimed to drastically increase the literacy levels of the children as well as the teaching capacity of teachers.

In 2015, we launched our first pilot literacy project 3 primary schools in Zambia. Over 600 children from Primary Grades 2 – 5 participated in the pilot, as well as 10 teachers.

A total of 94 Level 1 Happy Readers sets were delivered to the schools, alongside 8 Level 1 classroom kits, which include posters, flashcards and guides to support the teachers.

In March 2015, we held a 2-day teacher training and networking workshop for 8 teachers from all 3 schools.

On-going Support, Monitoring & Evaluation throughout the year. At the end of the school year, in December 2015 we undertook our formal literacy assessment to measure the impact achieved through the year.

Many children at our school weren’t reading before and now I see them reading all the time!– Margaret, pupil at Chisyabulungu Community School

Impact After One Year

In December 2014 SCZ undertook a baseline analysis of literacy levels across our 3 partner schools. We tested the literacy levels of over 300 children with the following results:

  • 31% of children scored the expected level (or above) for their Grade.
  • 69% of children scored below the expected level for their Grade.
  • 40% of children scored 2 or more years below the expected level for their Grade.

We can see the difference Happy Readers is making at our school compared to other schools – we are now trying harder and improving much faster– Pious, pupil at Chisyabulungu Community School

This analysis shows that after just 12 months:

In December 2014 SCZ undertook a baseline analysis of literacy levels across our 3 partner schools. We tested the literacy levels of over 300 children with the following results:

  • 62% of children have improved their literacy levels!
  • 25% increase in pupils scoring the expected level (or above) for their Grade.
  • 38% decrease in pupils scoring 2 or more years below the expected level for their Grade • Children improved their reading age by an average of 1.3 years.

Teachers

The Happy Readers programme is being used here everyday – the words the children are learning are even used now in other lessons, showing how important and effective these books are for learning– Mrs Katongo, teacher at Chisyabulungu Community School
  • 100% of teachers reported that they very much enjoyed using the Happy Readers books and teaching materials.
  • 100% of teachers reported an improvement in their teaching skills since the training workshop and use of the materials throughout the year.
  • 100% of teachers reported an improvement in their confidence in teaching English since the training workshop and use of the materials throughout the year.
  • 100% of teachers reported that the programme has improved the literacy level of their pupils.

My confidence in teaching has improved since using the Happy Readers resources as I know now that I am teaching children who can change for the better.– Mr Mulyadelele, Kariba South Primary School

Happy Readers helps us as teachers to impart knowledge on the basic words of the English language in a way that makes reading fun and easy. My pupils are even able to read on their own – something I never saw before!– Mr Luckson, Teacher at Chisyabulungu Community School

Adult Literacy

An unforeseen additional impact of the programme in 2015 has been the launch of adult literacy classes. The teachers have seized the opportunity to extend their teaching to local community members  – now that they have effective resources, they want to make sure that as many children and adults benefit as possible! So far, a total of 30 adults have been attending regular evening classes at the schools.

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