A new Reading programme was implemented this year at the School of Hope to encourage children's love of books and help them dream big. We talked to Jayra, our Reading teacher, to find out more.
With almost 25% of illiteracy, it’s no wonder reading is not a habit for most Guatemalans. The School of Hope has a wonderful library full of books that was recently rearranged by one of our volunteers, but once children get home they don’t usually have books, encouragement from their parents or the time to do so. It’s common for them to have to take care of siblings and help around the house, and it’s very unusual that parents read them a bedtime story.
Once children get home they don’t usually have books, encouragement from their parents or the time to do so.
So this year we started the Reading Programme to motivate reading habits. But that’s not all they do during class, it’s also a time for them to enjoy their childhood by playing games and learning to love books.
“A nation that reads is a nation that moves forward” says Jayra, the Reading teacher, while she seats on the grass of the playground where the children have come out to read.
“Books can open new worlds and help them dream, it’s touching to see students as they listen to me reading them stories, you can see the sparkle in their eyes and know that they’re inside the story, living it along with the characters”.
It’s a time for them to enjoy their childhood by playing games and learning to love books.
It’s touching to see the children running to the library and trying to decide what book to read, as each and every one of them brings a new adventure. Jayra recalls a story she read them a while ago about a girl who had a dream and made it happen. Then they discussed what they wanted to be when they grew up, which made Jayra ask them if they really thought those dreams could come true.
“I want to be a pilot and I’ve never even been to an airport,” said one of the boys, disappointed. “I’d love to become a doctor and help people, but I don’t think my parents could ever afford my education,” said a girl. “That doesn’t matter,” answered Jayra reassuringly, “don’t think about all the obstacles, focus on working hard.”
And that’s exactly what we want for our students, to empower them to believe in themselves enough and develop the tools to make their dreams come true.