FLP have started the new year very motivated to continue developing a love of reading in their communities. At the end of 2016, as a Team, we conducted various exercises and evaluated the programmes that we offer. Success was praised and changes necessary to deepen the impact of our programmes, were discussed at length. As a Team, what emerged are a set of guidelines that have informed our approach in 2017. For each of the Projects we are engaged in, new goals were added to existing goals, along with the rigorous work required to assist achieving these. Reflection activities were designed to assist us in evaluating progress towards achieving these goals. It has been an inspiration to receive feedback in Field Visits and Team meetings as to the progress towards these goals
Below is a list of some of the highlights:
- Sharing the work that we all do:
- Colorado Council of the International Reading Association Conference (CCIRA):
For the 50’th anniversary of CCIRA, FLP was invited to present on “Ingredients for Culturally Responsive Teaching”, as well “International Partnerships” and the benefit to Literacy Development.
It was a privilege for us to be invited to present with expert educators, in Denver Colorado. The session was fully subscribed and valuable interaction ensued in the question and answer slot of the presentation. It was good to have 2 Educators, Jan Killick and Judy Casey attend the conference as they have both worked with FLP in the past.
In Addition to this presentation, FLP shared about the community work we do, particularly through our Libraries and Reading Groups. The Foreign Affiliate Grant was established by CCIRA to encourage the sharing of best practice between, amongst others, FLP and CCIRA experts. I look forward to the training partnerships that we are currently working on with CCIRA.
- Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA) – Boston:
From Colorado, I travelled to Boston to present about FLP’s Community Libraries and the African Storybook Project (ASP). It was a privilege to be hosted at Primary Source and present to members of MRA, Educators and Rotarians from Boston. Judith Baker presented about ASP and the value of the work FLP has done in collecting, translating and motivating the writing of Zulu stories in our rural communities. The stories produced and their use in the FLP Groups and Libraries aroused interest amongst attendees with many offering to assist with translating the stories into minority languages in the USA to be used in Schools there. Frances Jefferies, a Rotarian from Boston, shared about the partnership that they have with FLP through MRA and the benefits that FLP derives from Rotary support.
- Children’s Chance for Life & Generation Joy Organisation – Seattle
I was invited to Present at schools in the Seattle School District with whom we have a partnership – we have worked together for 13 years. It was an inspiration to see the student led clubs working towards collecting resources for FLP and supporting our reading and literacy endeavours.
A presentation was done for Teeter International, as one of FLP’s major funders. All staff were present and the CEO spoke about their contribution to development in SA and particularly their relationship to, and support of, FLP.
- Philangethemba Molweni Community – FLP started training 12 ladies from Molweni Community for the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme. This initiative is a partnership between FLP and St Agnes Church, which has developed a Community Centre in Molweni. The introductory 2-day workshop was very well supported, with prospective Home Visitors excitedly receiving their bags, containing their Educational toys and Books, and venturing off into their community to commence their ECD Home Visits. It was encouraging to see that the African Storybook Project books, that FLP produced, piloted and translated, form part of the pack of books that would accompany the Home Visitors into the homes they would begin visiting regularly.
- FLP Literacy Campaigns – To promote the FLP libraries and make communities feel at home and visit more often, we constantly run special days where we advertise events at the libraries where all are encouraged to visit and promote reading and storytelling. We hosted Home Visitors for a picnic where they met with FLP Coordinators and Facilitators to discuss their home visit, the families visited, the challenges faced and significant change that they have seen in the families that they visit. Games get played, songs sung and ideas shared. Other members of the community get invited to see what the programme does and thereby promote similar practices in their homes and communities.
The National Read Aloud Day was celebrated in the FLP sites, schools and Libraries. Members of the community, teens and emergent readers all had an opportunity to read a Nali’bali story aloud, or if they were illiterate, to be read to. 3798 readers participated in this campaign.
- “Enter Another World – Read” Programme Pilot – FLP Teaching Interns, that have been trained by Shelley O’Carrol from Wordworks and the Underberg Mastery Unit, are working on foundation phase reading skills in 3 rural schools in Goxhill, Camanga and Underberg School. The Reading Programme aims to make reading fun and provide remediation to struggling readers. A baseline assessment was conducted and monitoring is taking place. We are confident that this intervention – 3 days per week in each school – of Intern based reading and 2 days of personal reading, will develop the confidence and ability of readers in the schools. We aim to promote reading as a leisure activity and not a punitive school practice. This is done by using dramatization, read aloud sessions with questions and bright books in local languages. The African Storybook Project Books are being printed and will be placed in corner libraries in these schools.
- The new FLP Kwabhidla Community Library: This project is now firmly back on track. The Ingonyama Trust has extended the lease. We have received the Lease Documents from Ingonyama and are anxious to start construction! We are extremely grateful to the Daitz Foundation and Project Build for their continued support in this initiative. They have approved a new budget that considers the delays and thus the library will meet the specs originally planned when the initiative was begun. The construction of FLP’s newest Community Library will begin in 2017.