Promo ng Childhood Literacy Using Illustrated Stories By Samuel R
Promo%ng Childhood Literacy Using Illustrated Stories By Samuel R. Brown, Ph.D. Working in libraries for almost 25 years I have always been interested in literacy and wriBng. In 2011, I decided to act on these interests by wriBng ten short children’s stories and used free illustraBons in the public domain to complement the text. I had recently become involved in a non-‐proﬁt organizaBon called Project Amigo [www.projectamigo.org] that promotes literacy among children in poor, rural areas in the small agricultural state of Colima on the west central coast of Mexico. Here I am in 2010 at a Project Amigo Literacy Work Week. Small groups of students would take turns reading stories out loud during our visits to poor, rural primary schools. Another one of Project Amigo’s programs is called ‘Books of One’s Own.’ Every year they distribute more than 2,000 fun, childrens books to students in poor, rural schools for them to take home. These books will oWen be the only books present in their homes. Both programs are very popular with the students. It shows that simply providing a child with a fun story to read will oWen create a desire to read. Having children read out loud during the Project Amigo school visits and its book distribuBon program gave me an idea. I could combine the two concepts into a literacy project using the ten short childrens stories I had wriXen. Children could receive free copies of my stories at school and read them aloud to classmates. To decrease prinBng costs I condensed the text and illustraBons of each 12 page story to two pages. The pages could either be stapled together or printed on the front and back of one sheet of paper. I also had all of the stories translated into Spanish. www.srbrown.info/stories/
The Rotary E-‐Club of the Southwest USA, District 5510 gave its support to the idea in April 2013, at which Bme I created a website for the literacy project at [ www.srbrown.info/stories/ ]. The stories are wriXen on the third grade level (for children eight or nine years old) and they are now available for free over the Internet. The goal of the project is to enlist the help of people in service organizaBons, such as Rotary Clubs. They would make enough copies of one or more stories for each third grade child in a nearby school that is lacking in economic resources or contains children who live in poverty. A member of a Rotary Club or other service organizaBon would take the stories to the school and ask permission from the Principal/Director and third grade teacher to distribute the stories to the students. The students would take turns reading parts of a story aloud and take their copy home with them. The club member would send an email to Samuel Brown [ [email protected] ] containing the name of his or her organizaBon and the name and locaBon of the school (town/city, state/province, country). A photo of the club member and the students holding up their stories would be opBonal but greatly appreciated. The name and locaBon of the club and school, and a photo, if available, will be included in the gallery of organizaBons on the project website, as in the case below. Quevedo, Los Rios. Ecuador Rotary Club of Quevedo 7 de Octubre Recinto La China Escuela 5 de Junio Those who are visually-‐impaired may access the stories by using text reading soWware with the text ﬁles or listen to them. Three of the stories have accompanying audio ﬁles. If the children in the school speak a language other than the one in which a story currently appears, please send Samuel Brown [[email protected]] a translaBon of the story into that language. He will paste the text next to the illustraBons and create a version of the story in that language for those students and for other students who speak it. This project is ideal for organizaBons that have a wide geographic distribuBon in their membership since it is an acBvity in which all members can parBcipate. The project would also ﬁt well with those organizaBons that already have a relaBonship with a nearby school and could be included as another acBvity that is presented to the students. Samuel R. Brown, Ph.D. is a member of the Rotary E-‐Club of the Southwest USA and is a reBred college library director. He and his family live in Cheshire, ConnecBcut, USA.