Reading Liberia 20/20

Reading Liberia 20/20 2019-11-28T15:31:48-05:00

Reading Liberia 20/20:

Reading Liberia 20/20 is a comprehensive literacy program whose ultimate goal is to improve learning outcomes of primary school children in Liberia through the acquisition of reading, writing, and problem solving skills.  It is a collaborative effort among the Liberian NGO the We-Care Foundation, CODE, and IBB.

The program’s objectives are to:

  • Improve the skills of grade 1-6 teachers, librarians, and school administrators in reading and writing instruction and promotion of literacy in thoughtful and child-centered ways

  • Build the capacity of Liberian authors, illustrators, graphic designers and editors of children’s books

  • Produce high quality, culturally appropriate reading materials for children  that will be used to increase the acquisition of reading, writing and problem solving skills of children and youth

  • Develop and promote a culture of reading, especially among girls

  • Strengthen and promote the professional development of educators and the creation of gender-sensitive literate environments

Reading Liberia 20/20 provides high quality training and, through a train-the-trainer model, support to teachers and capacity building to support the development and publication of appropriate reading resources.  Initiated in mid 2016, the program builds upon previous programming (including several containers of books provided by IBB) and an existing corps of trainers to continue training and certifying teachers and developing quality books and improved learning environments.  IBB President Wendy Saul has been involved from the beginning, helping design the initial project and travelling in-country as an active volunteer in support of teacher development. This project is providing students with opportunities for personal growth and the chance to acquire literacy and thinking skills as they become responsible citizens able to contribute to Liberia’s economic, political and social growth.

By 2020, Reading Liberia 20/20 will have supported and nurtured literate environments in 60 schools spread across 5 districts in Bomi, Grand Bassa and Margibi counties. Over 25,000 Liberian children will be directly impacted, more than 600 teachers and principals will upgrade their qualifications in the teaching of reading and writing skills, and a cohort of highly trained, local teacher educators will be developed.  In addition, high quality books (up to 24 new titles) that support the national curriculum will be published along with materials to guide teachers in their use.

The program is supporting Liberian authors and illustrators by offering them training in creating books for young people and by compensating them as they contribute to a growing body of culturally authentic reading materials for Liberian children and young people.   It is funding the production (printing and shipping) of high quality, culturally appropriate reading materials for children that will be used to increase the acquisition of reading, writing and problem solving skills of children and youth.

Status Update – March 2018

Michael Weah, Executive Director of the We Care Foundation and Publisher of the Reading Liberia series, has laid out details of the Reading Liberia 20/20 publishing program. There will be two mini-anthologies plus a stand-alone book for primary grade students, two new books for children in grades three and four and three new titles for readers in the upper elementary grades.

The mini-anthologies include poetry and short pieces arranged around themes: health in one case and visiting the market in the other. The stand-alone book is a humorous, original tale about Captain Miatta, a dad who expected things to be ship shape when he returns home.

The books for grades three and four offer girls, in particular, characters who show resourcefulness and an interest in the world beyond the home. One tells the story of a girl and her brothers dealing with the horrors of the unmarked train tracks in Liberia.  The other features a young girl who details her parents’ experience building a new house, from signing contracts to buildings the structure to finally moving in.

The books for the pre-teen audience include a biography of a Liberian artist and a rich account of two endangered species in Liberia (the pygmy hippo and the pangolin). The third title is still being negotiated.

Authors are hard at work and illustrators are ready to do their part.

IBB President Wendy Saul in Liberian first grade classroom.

Liberian teacher-trainer with IBB supplied books.


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