Reading to Academic Excellence: Street Library Liberia Supports Child Literacy

Just over a year after opening, Street Library Liberia is already making great strides in promoting literacy as a growing number of children have been honored with double promotions for their academic performances.

A number of children of the ACP Street Library program in Paynesville have received double promotions from their various schools due to their impressive academic performances. At least five of these children entered the Street Library program with a low reading level. After 4 months, these children have greatly improved and are excelling in school!

Benetta and Jefferson Dwye from C3 School, Yasah Zayay from Billiecall Institute Gormah Flomo and Patience Siaka from Soul Clinic Public School respectively were reported receiving promotions for their improved academic performance over the period. The ACP Street Library program in Liberia is currently preparing for more impact assessments; using available data and establishing more guidelines for evaluating children’s achievements as a result of their participation in the street Library. Recently, Street Library Liberia has been invited by Social Impact, as part of a USAID Funded Government of Liberia Reading Collaboration, an initiative to develop a Roadmap for Liberia’s Reading Program.

At Street Library Liberia the journey begins for students when they register with the program.  All Students who join the Street Library complete a literacy assessment. Each child is given an assessment with three different components; word set, short sentences and a full story with comprehension questions.  Based on the literacy capability of the child for each section, the Library records their literacy level.  We have children that come to the library with a zero reading level (they are not able to identify words) and then we also have students who are able to read and understand stories (they can read and answer all comprehension questions).

Street Library Liberia is dedicated to the ideal of children gaining literacy skills while having fun in a supportive, caring and engaging environment. The library utilizes a variety of tools for students to learn and practice literacy skills. Guided reading sessions coupled with activities for play are the foundation of the program.  At the Street Library we believe reading should be enjoyable and children should grow up within a culture that nourishes reading, learning and creativity.  Our guided reading sessions infuse pronunciation, vocabulary, phonics and comprehension teachings. Children are also encouraged to use our 7 different workstations where they can focus individually or in pairs on a specific skill.  Our workstations include phonics, making your own story, flashcard/vocabulary, worksheets, word games/puzzles, reading circle and numbers/shapes sheets.

The successes of the students’ haves had positive effects in the community.  Friends of the students are encouraged by their success and even seek out assistance from them in the library.  Parents have told us how grateful they are that their children have a place to go that nourishes their mind, improves their self-confidence and keep them on a successful path in life.

Looking towards the future, Street Library has some exciting initiatives currently in development. YCWL and its partners, Microsoft Portugal, FhP, VPWA and ASRAD, with support from EU through the ACP Group of States, will be launching its online platform and application.  Through this application, we will be able to bring rich cultural African centric stories to children leaving near and far.  The mobile app will allow for any child with a phone to download the app have access to a vast array of books so they can empower themselves to learn no matter where they are located.  We look forward to announcing the launch of this app in Liberia soon!

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