Big Books in South Sudan for International Literacy Day
One of the first memories many of us have is of sitting on a parent’s lap as they read to us one of our favorite children stories. However, in South Sudan most children don’t have books of their own at home. Rebuild South Sudan has been working with Dr. Mac H. Brown, a retired professor of Early Childhood Education for the College of Education at South Carolina University. Through literacy research he found that children who can recite eight basic picture books from memory at the end of kindergarten are prepared to tackle the technical literacy instruction that they will encounter in first grade because they have a context of story. For kids who don’t have access to reading materials at home, it becomes crucial to be read to at school. In South Sudan, where print materials are especially limited, using big picture books is an effective way for a teacher to simulate being read to at home. The big pages of Big Books mean that a larger group of children can see not only the pictures but also the words. Dr. Brown has made several trips and taken suitcases full of big picture books to teachers in South Sudan. We are excited to be following in his footsteps with his guidance.
We will be taking 52 books (13 sets of 4 books) to South Sudan for the teachers to share. Incorporated into our Teacher Training Program, we will be modeling how to read a picture book to a group of people. It’s important that as we give someone a new tool that we also help them learn the most effective way to use the tool to strengthen literacy for South Sudanese children. The set of four books we are taking over are Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carle, Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne, The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone, and The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone. These titles were carefully selected for content and settings that South Sudanese children can relate to.
We would love for you to partner with us as we provide these books to teachers in South Sudan on International Literacy Day, which is September 8th. A donation of $25 will put a big picture book into the hands of a trained teacher in South Sudan. One of the first steps of any education is learning to read, relating to and understanding story, and letting your imagination soar with the help of books. Having books in our homes and at schoos is something that we completely take for granted in the United States, but books are a vital part of learning and childhood. We are very excited about this opportunity to provide books to schools in South Sudan and hope that you will support this effort.
Pictured above is Ellen Cummings, a colleague of Dr. Brown, using Big Books with children in South Sudan.