Reading For Life
Child Aid's four-year literacy program partners with some of Guatemala’s poorest and most underprivileged public schools to improve the quality of education for their students, particularly in the areas of reading and literacy. The program addresses the common problems of poorly trained teachers and under-resourced schools by providing children's books, high-quality training, and support for establishing school-wide literacy programs that give students more opportunities to read and develop their skills. The goal of the program is to improve teacher performance in literacy instruction and student outcomes in the basic literacy skills of fluency, comprehension and critical thinking. The program also works to build a sustainable community of literacy in partner schools where children learn to read and become able to read to learn.
Teacher Training School-based workshops and one-on-one classroom follow-ups with a literacy trainer provide teachers knowledge and experience in new ways of teaching. Each year, teachers attend two full-day workshops and receive four one-on-one coaching sessions with a literacy trainer. Book Distribution Schools receive a core collection of fiction and nonfiction books, providing resources for classroom instruction and school-wide reading promotion. By the end of the program, schools have a minimum of seven books per student with a variety of topics, genres and reading levels. Coaching for Integration Beyond conducting workshops and follow-up sessions, Child Aid trainers spend approximately 150 additional hours in each school over the four-year program, providing individualized support and coaching to school staff. Trainers help teachers integrate donated books and new instructional techniques across the curriculum. Trainers also provide ongoing training and support to help schools organize and categorize their books, establish school libraries and classroom reading corners and begin book lending and school-wide reading promotion programs. These activities help create a culture of literacy within the school that supports student learning and ensures the long-term sustainability of the program.
In 2017, the Reading for Life program is working in 68 schools with 625 teachers and benefiting approximately 13,000 students.