Holiday Reading Club Olympics
August 24 2016

Even though regular class lessons have ceased for the holiday, students enrolled in Reading Club at Chinotimba Primary School in Victoria Falls are still voluntarily coming to school for extra reading sessions! The dedicated students, from grades five to seven, have been participating in special reading club sessions twice a week. 

ALERT staff and volunteers have also opened up the program to other children of all ages attending Chinotimba Primary School.  Lessons are still being geared towards the development of students reading skills, but with some extra fun and games to celebrate the holiday season.  This past week, ALERT staff and volunteer partners from African Impact were very excited to teach the students all about the Olympics! 

The lesson began by asking a simple question, “Who has heard of the Olympics?”  When not a single hand went up, ALERT staff knew the day would be filled with new and interesting information for the students who were eager to learn.  All of the students were very interested in the history of the Olympics, from the first competitions, and events, to the revival of the games in the late nineteenth century.  

Along with learning fun facts about where and why the games originated, students also highlighted some words they did not recognise or understand while reading in groups.  ALERT staff then explained each word to the entire class so that every child would understand the new words.

When the reading lesson was complete, pupils were split up into groups to compete in their very own mini-Olympics!  They competed in three events: a ball throw, a wheel-barrel race, and a relay race.  The children gave each event everything they had, and the competition was fierce!  More children seemed to show up to help cheer on, and support all of the athletes.   The lesson and games were a complete success, and every child was a winner, whether they placed first, or last.   


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.

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