The ability to read provides a child with a powerful way to understand the world around them. It allows them to connect, communicate, explore ideas and better understand themselves. Can you imagine your own life if you had never been able to read anything?
Illiteracy is an everyday reality for around 35 million children in Nigeria. Strongly linked to poverty, poor health outcomes and increased exploitation, illiteracy prevents individuals, communities and countries from reaching their potential. The challenge to improve children’s literacy in Nigeria is an opportunity to change millions of lives for the better.
Christianna Foundation have been working within schools in Nigeria since 2012, we have built 9 libraries and run numerous education projects, we know that positive literacy outcomes are possible.
We achieve our aim of increasing literacy levels with a 3-pronged approach. Every school has its own unique set of challenges and Christianna Foundation implements one of three solutions to ensure pupils have access to high quality, relevant books and reading materials,
- Book Box Library Club (mobile library service)
- Worldreader eReaders
- Building School Libraries
Following a successful pilot, which is due to conclude in July of 2021, Christianna Foundation will be launching our biggest literacy initiative to date. Book Box Library Club is a mobile library service that will reach 20,000 children across 102 under-resourced primary schools in rural Nigeria. Launching in the local authority Ona-Ara in Oyo State, we will be servicing a school community that currently only affords 8.8% of primary pupils library access. Designed with the understanding that an effective reading programme needs to do more than provide books alone, children will be supported along a structured pathway to literacy.
We aim to inspire a love of reading as we nurture emergent readers through consecutive reading levels that carefully build confidence and skills.
“Before the introduction of Book Box Library Club pupils had no access to storybooks… It is a setback for the literacy levels of children. Many of them have not handled storybooks before, they never got to talk of reading.”
Mr Olopade – Head Teacher St Paul’s Primary School, Kajola 2020
Book Box Library Club will provide the right book at the right time in both local language and in English. Alongside relevant, relatable books, we will have a programme of fun activities, events and lesson plans for teachers that focus on delivering five essential elements of literacy development.
- Phoneme Awareness
- Reading Fluency
Our service will be completely free to use and children will be able to borrow between 20 and 40 books a year to read at school and at home. To care for their books, every child will be given their very own beautifully designed book bag, a gift from us which is theirs to keep.
As well as using effective, evidence-based educational methods, we also recognise that programmes themselves don’t teach literacy, teachers do. We will develop and support local schoolteachers, peer educators and community reading coaches. Working together we aim to increase
- Access to books
- Awareness of the importance of literacy
- Motivation to read
- Positive behavious around reading
- Literacy skills
Book Box Library Club is a replicable model delivered at local authority level. Our approach is community-led and will operate in collaboration with local government, primary schools, children, local community and our generous funding partners.
Largely run by volunteers our model is extremely cost-effective. Just £4 or ₦2000 covers the cost of one child for the first year and £1 or ₦1000 for every year thereafter.
“The children have no access to storybooks, the school has textbooks but not enough. Our children have no access to storybooks, they don’t know the difference between a textbook and a storybook. This is not advantageous to their literacy levels.”
Mrs Isola Head Teacher St Peter’s Aglican School, Ojuku 2020
Worldreader are world-leading digital reading specialists who have reached 47 countries and 13.5 million readers over the last 10-years. They are on a mission to help improve literacy and to promote reading not only for education but also for pleasure. This kind of reach is achieved with strategic partnerships that facilitate Worldreader getting access to communities all around the world. Christianna Foundation has partnered with Worldreader to bring their award-winning eReader programmes to primary schools in Nigeria.
As part of a 3-pronged approach to address the needs for high-quality reading materials and instruction, Christianna Foundation have to date, implemented the Worldreader programme in three primary schools. St Peter’s Primary School in Ibadan, Kuramo Nursery and Primary in Lagos and Maiyegun Primary School, Lagos.
Booklists on the eReaders are compiled by an expert Worldreader Librarian who ensures the books are relevant and relatable. Worldreader collections also consider the impact on gender equality, ensuring there are books that empower girls and challenge gender stereotypes.
The Worldreader eReader programme is implemented where schools are able to keep the device securely in a lockable and weatherproof room and, where we believe, the rate of teacher turnover will not render our extensive teacher training redundant too often to be sustainable. Christianna Foundation provides devices, teacher and pupils training and also solar charging stations, as well as on-going maintenance.The
Each school we work with has its own unique set of challenges. If a school does not have the facility to safely and securely maintain eReaders for use by their pupils, we look at whether it is suitable to build them their own school library.
Christianna Foundation has built 9 school libraries by converting disused classrooms into a library facility. We look at the size of the student population and whether it is cost effective to renovate an existing building structure. Classroom renovations usually require extensive building and decorating work to create a room that is suitable to secure a library collection and for use as a reading and quiet study space. Several of the libraries that we have built are used by neighboring schools, as teachers and local librarians work together to support the wider school community in a spirit of cooperation and resource sharing.
“The library is very useful to all pupils in St. Peter’s and other schools in the zone, especially Okuseinde Primary School 1&2, Islamic Mission School 1&2 and others. Teachers and pupils from other schools come to borrow books for their schools and return when due. We organised young reader’s club and the children are doing wonderfully well.”
Mrs.Adejoke Adesina— Ibadan North Eastern Librarian, 2019