An early grade reading intervention for thirty-three (33) communities in eight (8) regions has recorded remarkable impact in advancing children’s literacy skills, according to a report released by Ghana Library Authority at the commemoration of the World Book and Copyright Day in Accra.
The World Book and Copyright Day 2022, celebrated under the theme “You are A Reader’’ focuses on bringing books closer to children.
In an address by the Chief Executive Officer of the GhLA, Mr. Hayford Siaw, he gave a background to the commencement of the Early Grade Intervention and said “the need for us to respond to alarming learning poverty levels necessitated the roll out of the Early Grade Literacy Intervention with the support of UNICEF”.
He further indicated that, the project targeted 8500 children who received supplementary books and reading support from Librarians, Teachers and Volunteers over the lifespan of the project in the targeted communities.
“ Before the inception of the project, the Authority’s baseline assessment revealed that most of the children in selected districts could not identify simple words, could not read or even understand words. To mitigate this, we built the capacity of 201 early grade teachers and librarians to support pupils in/out of school to improve their reading in school and sustain the intervention. A total of 195 biweekly mobile library visits were made to selected schools and districts where 16,620 books were issued to the children. Currently, 73% of our beneficiaries have an improved reading score; children who could not read, identify or understand words and sentences can now read, identify words and understand what they read”, Mr. Siaw emphasized.
Sharing remarks on behalf of UNICEF, the Deputy Country Representative in Ghana Mr. Fiachra McAsey extended an appreciation to the GhLA and its key partners for their relentless efforts in improving reading habits of children and youth. He said “the collaboration between UNICEF and the GhLA on its Early Grade Community Reading Intervention was an incredible innovation that has bridged the gap by ensuring that all young people have access to basic learning resources.”
The UNICEF – GhLA collaboration, the Early Grade Community Reading Intervention reached 8,500 KG to P3 school children, including children with disabilities who received a book (age-appropriate) each to read at home.
Mr. McAsey reiterated the UNICEF’s commitment in working with government and stakeholders to develop the next generation of ardent readers including children with or without disabilities.
The Chairperson of the event, who is also the Chairperson of the Ghana Library Authority Governing board, Dr. Helena Asamoah-Hassan speaking at the event, stressed on the importance of libraries as a place for molding and building lives, where readers and leaders go to gain knowledge and are groomed into world changers.