During last week’s Book Club at Twabuka Primary School in Livingstone, volunteers were met by more than thirty children, all eager to show off their reading skills and swap their books. Despite being in the middle of sitting exams before the Christmas holiday, the students were as motivated and interested as usual.
The session began with the regular spelling test, carried out to measure progress with vocabulary and grammar. The children enjoy this challenge, with most of them continuing to improve their scores each week. After that, they practiced their language skills by completing word searches with the support of volunteers. While this was going on, some students from the intermediate group were assessed individually on their English comprehension, spelling, grammar, and sentence structure skills. The part of the Book Club the children enjoy most is when they get to choose a new book to take home. Such is their enthusiasm, they start reading straightaway; comparing books and talking together about the illustrations.
Usually that is the end of the session, but this time there was a treat in store for the children. Before arriving in Zambia, a group of Australian volunteers had arranged for pupils from their local primary school to write letters and make drawings for the Book Club students. There was much excitement as these were handed out and shared around the classroom. The children were then helped to write their own letters to send back to Australia to their new friends.
Twabuka Primary is one of several schools in Livingstone that are supported by ALERT. It serves the Sinde community in the Simona rural area of the city, with an attendance of 224 students. With only five teachers and the use of five classrooms, the school is under-staffed and poorly resourced. The Book Club, launched in 2012, is facilitated by Lion Encounter volunteers and is designed to enhance the existing curriculum by offering students additional tuition in this important area of study. You could help to support education in Africa by becoming a school sponsor here.
Volunteers carrying out reading and comprehension assessments
Students sharing penpal letters from Australia