Helping Teachers Teach Reading and Writing To Increase Children’s Literacy
Why Early Literacy?
Despite a decade and a half of heavy spending by the international community, and reforms in the education system, reading outcomes among children at all grade levels in Afghanistan are among the worst in the world. Contributing to this situation is that half of Afghan teachers are unqualified, there is minimal instructional time in classrooms, children get little to no exposure to literacy at home, and most Afghan schools report insufficient supplies of textbooks, with few having school libraries. Some studies have even documented illiteracy among Afghan teachers in some provinces. Not surprisingly, many children fail to acquire grade-appropriate knowledge as they move through the school system and others dropout of school altogether, retaining little of value from the months or years spent in school and undermining the significant social mobilization that compelled thousands of families to send their children, including girls, to school for the first time in the post-Taliban era. When children attend school but do not learn to read, families lose faith in the idea that education is a way to a better life.
How We Help
Teacher education in Afghanistan has to date not included training in the teaching of reading specifically. Supporting children to read requires specific instructional methods, strategies and tools. Teachers should have knowledge of the stages of reading development in children, and the complex ways in which learning to read and write happens. We work to help bring access to specialized training in the teaching of reading to Afghanistan’s teacher education system, and we innovate unique methods to ensure teachers throughout the country can access training opportunities.
Gender Equity in Teacher Training: As part of the GETT project funded by the Government of Canada, CW4WAfghan is developing a new specialized course in early grade reading for TTCs. This course will also be available as a massive open online course (MOOC), so that even teachers in remote areas will be able to take it.
School Library Starter Kits: CW4WAfghan equips schools with School Library Starter Kits, giving schools a “starter” collection of books, shelving, materials such as book covers, labeling and signout logbook, as well as training to effectively manage a library and promote reading among students. Therefore, when teachers graduate from teachers’ college, they have a better chance of finding themselves working in a school with a library, where they can apply what they learned during their teacher education about fostering reading and writing skills in young children.
Children’s Storybooks Publishing: Teaching children to read and write demands books! That’s why CW4WAfghan works with a variety of partners to increase the scope and quality of local language children’s storybooks published in Afghanistan. Read about our support to Hoopoe Books to produce bilingual storybooks of Afghan fables, our partnership with Storyweaver to translate their books into Afghan languages, how we raised funds for printing the Afghan Songbook and its follow-up book of traditional Afghan folktales. Also, check out our work to bring sectoral actors together who work in book production, librarianship and reading promotion in Afghanistan.
Darakht-e Danesh Library: In our Technology for Education program, our digital library of learning materials, Darakht-e Danesh, includes collections on Literacy Education, Children’s Storybooks, and more that help put resources into the hands of teachers responsible for developing literacy skills in children.