Government launches one-month reading challenge

Children read books with illustrations. / File photo

Developing a love for reading during childhood can have a huge impact on education and future wellbeing. Besides, according to various reports, reading books is incredibly beneficial to children.

And so, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Culture, this week rolled out a new initiative that among other things aims to help children and young people read widely, explore a range of books as well as develop a lasting love for reading.


Dubbed ‘Read Aloud Challenge’, the initiative launched on Monday, September 21, came at a time the government kicked off a month-long campaign of reading and writing.


“Reading is important because it helps children increase their knowledge, improve the quality of education, expand minds and much more,” Edouard Bamporiki, State Minister of Youth and Culture, said at the launch of the campaign.


According to the Ministry of Education, the challenge is a literacy engagement programme designed to encourage students to read more books and enjoy reading while they improve literacy levels.

On the same day, Gaspard Twagirayezu, State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education, posted a video on Twitter to mark the first reading aloud challenge exercise.

Twagirayezu called upon the public to take part in the campaign as the country looks to create and embed a reading culture amongst students.

The challenge will be done in steps including ‘read aloud a book for or with a child’, ‘challenging a colleague to record or take a photo while reading a book for or with a child’ and then post it on social media.

According to Twagirayezu, the other initiatives to take place this month include writing competitions, as well as increasing the number of books for the students to be able to access them wherever they are.

“Students with special needs are not forgotten either. Because they are also expected to be among the candidates of the writing competition,” Twagirayezu pointed out.

“Reading aloud to children is not a panacea for our current pandemic, but it offers at least one way in which parents and childcare providers can help children develop their literacy skills no matter what the coronavirus has in store for us,” said renowned author, Mark I. West, chair of the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

West, who is also a former president of the Children's Literature Association, said, “When children listen to books read aloud, they learn about people, places, and how things work. They learn about emotions and feelings and how to use words to share their ideas. While enjoying the special connection of shared book reading, children naturally increase their vocabularies and gain the knowledge and skills necessary for later reading.”

For Daisy Diannah Uwonkunda, a nursery school teacher at Excella School, when a parent and child are constantly reading together, it develops a relationship through the books that can lead to a discussion about the seriousness of the world in a way they can understand, leading to a stronger relationship.

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