On June 16th, Edutab Africa joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 2022 International Day of the African Child under the theme “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children” in collaboration with the Storymoja Read Aloud Initiative.
This initiative began in 2013. It has been changing the reading culture in Kenya by motivating children to read for leisure and empowerment. Every year, children from different schools all over Kenya join hands to break a world record by reading the same excerpt at the same time from their schools with support from Reading Ambassadors.
This year, the excerpt was from a Swahili storybook called “Shambulizi la Akina Shida” written by Muthoni Muchemi, approved by KICD, and commissioned Kenya Human Rights Commission. The story revolved around diversity, ethnic tolerance, peace, children’s rights, disability, and inclusion.
Over the years, we have always been keen on incorporating evidence-based education practices that promote engagement during learning for children. In that case, we integrated the excerpt into our African Children Stories Podcast, a project that has continuously enabled us to reach children, teachers, and parents globally.
It was an inspiring experience to see eager and excited grades 5 and 6 children from Birunda Primary all ears as they listened to the story narrated by Ahmed Abdallah, our podcast co-host. The children also had copies of the excerpt, and you could hear murmurs as they immersed themselves in reading and listening.
The podcast incorporated different elements such as music, sound design, and dramatic gestures to help transport listeners into the story. While observing the children, their reactions showed that they were also characters in the story.
At the end of the story, there were a few questions to reflect on and draw lessons from the story. Almost all hands by children were in the air to share what they learned from the story.
While reflecting on the day with teachers at the school, the head teacher, Mr. Bakari, noted that short and engaging stories could help learners model fluency, develop language skills, and improve language skills, especially for learners who have challenges in reading and writing.
I am keen to ensure learners can read and write in engaging ways. We have set up a radio club that shares news on what happens in the school during assembliesheadteacher, Birunda Primary School, Kitale.
Like in the story the children listened to, all learners need support to be change agents by gradually moving from listener roles to active participants in their learning at home or school. Investments in quality education can help reduce harmful practices that rob children of their childhood, deny them the chance to determine their future and thereby threaten the well-being of individuals, families, and societies.
To listen to more of our African Children’s stories, click on this link.