Reading Club continued to run for students from Monde Primary School in Victoria Falls during the recent school holiday, with an amazing increase in attendance of 45 children per session, compared to 15 during the previous break. Ages ranged from five to 14, with a significant number of Grade 7 students actively taking part to help prepare for their exams in October. Reading levels have improved. Most students over Grade 4 are now reading above Happy Readers Book 7, compared to Book 5 previously. Spelling has improved, according to informal assessments, such as “Spelling Netball” and five-minute spelling bees (conducted before and after each lesson) and progress has also been made with the children’s spoken English and comprehension. Students whose reading level was above Book 9 have now been moved on to the more advanced Tessa’s Curriculum and are enjoying informal reading materials, such as newspaper articles, magazines and pre-teen novels from our mobile library.
At Chinotimba Primary School, holiday Reading Cub was equally in full swing, with all 29 registered readers in attendance at least twice during the break. All but six pupils have now progressed passed the Happy Readers books and are working their way through Tessa’s Curriculum. The students are confident with spoken English and have good comprehension skills. Informal assessment methods, such as the game “Hang-man” are popular with the children and provide a useful teaching tool for staff and project volunteers.
About Book Club
English is the official language of both Zambia and Zimbabwe, and without good proficiency in English reading and writing, students will likely be excluded from many aspects of active citizenship, including employment opportunities. English proficiency also helps students to better understand all their school subjects, and to be able to tackle exams, which are given in English. In partnership with Coventry University, ALERT has established English literacy programs at weekly Book Clubs to improve children’s English literacy levels and foster a love of reading. Pupils attending book clubs are tested to establish their current reading age, and then tailored, locally appropriate, assistance is provided to improve literacy using educational materials from AXIS Education, TESSA and Happy Readers. A library system provides pupils access to a wide-range of reading level appropriate books.
About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)
English literacy courses are one aspect of the work of our ALERT Education Centres. The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students. Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy. In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students. Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies / entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training. The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK). The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.
Join us at the AEC
There are a number of ways you can join our AEC projects to assist in the delivery of the AECs various programmes. Click on the following links for further information:
- Those with some teaching experience can join our Teaching in Africa internship
- Researchers interested in assisting us assess AEC programmes can join our Research in the Community Internship
- If your interest is in teaching about conservation, you can also join the programme as a Conservation Education Intern
- Even if you have no teaching experience, there is still much you can do to help deliver our various courses as part of our volunteer programmes
Support the AEC
If you would like to support the activities of our AEC operations please click here.