A reading programme with impact

Angela celebrates her reading test results

“My favourite book is The Hare and the Tortoise. I like the way the tortoise takes his time but wins the race,” says 10 year old Angela Beaston.

Angela is one of 180 children on the Book Bus reading support programme in Mangochi, Malawi.

It’s a programme that is showing impact. At the beginning of the programme, every child takes a reading test and their scores are recorded. The same test is used some six months later and children are showing an increase in reading ability by an average of 35%.

Increase in reading ability

The Book Bus reading project has partnered with two local schools to support teachers with their literacy programmes. Every week Book Bus Reading Team visits the schools and hears the children read.

“The children love the Book Bus reading programme. We work in small groups which means each child has access to books, takes turns in reading and then we always have some kind of activity afterwards to see what the children have understood.”

Why Malawi?

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and its education system has many challenges including average class sizes of 120 children per teacher with few resources to support teachers in their vital role. Books are rare and very expensive often costing more than one months wages.

The Book Bus programme is currently piloting this, its first reading scheme, and it’s proving a big success. Choosing the right books is crucial to ensure the books are relevant and engaging to the children. Many of the books tell the stories of tales and fables from around the world.

The programme not only helps the children to read, but the books open up new worlds to the children. They are learning about Aesop and ancient Greece through fables which really helps expand the children’s knowledge and encourages them to ask questions and explore further.

It’s all about having an opportunity

Joseph Chipanga is the Head teacher of Nansanga Primary school, one of the Book Bus partner schools.

Head teacher Joseph Chipanga

“The impact has been simply incredible,“ he says. “This reading programme really supports the literacy work our teachers are doing. More and more children are now asking how they get on the reading programme. The children on the programme are absolutely becoming the highest performers in other subjects too. What’s important is these children are being given an opportunity – they are grasping it and we are now seeing the results. It’s looking very positive,” concludes Joseph.

The Book Bus is keen to include more children on this reading programme and also introduce a 2nd phase to continue to provide reading support to the children that have successfully completed phase 1.

Get more children reading

Reading changes lives

The Book Bus is a UK based charity and is entirely funded by the generosity of our donors. We want to expand this high-impact reading programme to:

  • double the number of children on the programme
  • employ an additional Reading Champion
  • introduce a comprehensive reading scheme that will support children
  • from early readers through to becoming confident readers.

Can you help more children read and enjoy the powerful world of books? Donate now.