Increased functionality among government primary schools on distributing supplementary reading materials.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Though primary schools have supplementary reading materials like storybooks provided by government but students often don’t have access to those. Teachers are supposed to distribute the storybooks among the students in a day of each week. Time-constraint and busy schedule of teachers often make storybooks distribution an irregular activity in many schools. In some schools, storybooks are kept untouched for a long time. Students are not generally allowed to take the books home. Even if books are distributed, students have little time to read those during office hours. Students’ lack of reading competency was one of the major reasons for unappealing condition government provided supplementary reading materials. Teachers also lack motivation to improve reading competency of the students. 

USAID’s READ Activity has been implemented in 6 upazilas of Naogaon district since December 2016. As part of the increasing reading competency initiatives, it provided supplementary reading materials (SRM) to 662 schools in the district. It aimed to develop all students’ reading skills, regardless of competency level. Distribution of SRM creates opportunities for out-of-school reading practice and cultivates an enjoyable reading habit for all students.

While reflecting on SRM, Acting Upazila Education Officer Siddikur Rahaman said, “Interventions related to SRMs are helping students to grow their reading interest. The more they read, the more they perform in schools.”

He also added, “The storybook distribution practice initiated by READ also encouraged us to make government’s system functional. All the schools in our district got a momentum in distributing storybooks among the students.” 

In a particular day of the week, teacher distributes books among the grade 1-3 students. They can take the book home. A classroom assistant of this program supports teachers and students to read a story in the classroom. A book Captain is also selected among the students. He or she facilitates the process of distributing and collecting storybooks along with maintaining a book register. A bookstand full of interesting storybooks is kept in a corner of the classroom, called Reading Corner.

“The systematic way of supplying supplementary reading materials of READ program inspired us to distribute government provided storybooks effectively. We are now making the best use of the supplementary materials. Students' interest in reading is seen growing.” Said Monjuara Begam, Head Teacher of Mokhorpur government primary school of Naogaon Sadar.

Similar development has been observed in other schools supported by READ. The project provided 270 SRM covering nearly 1 million students. Children can read books at school and borrow books to read at home as well.