Professional success is linked to a good reading culture and children who start reading at an early stage gain a firm foundation for the future.
Peter Malnak, the mission director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), made the remarks, yesterday, while taking part in an event to mark the International Literacy Day at Remera Catholic II Primary School in Kigali.
“Research around the world has shown that reading is very effective if children are to do better in the future. When you read, you open up the world,” Malnak said.
Malik, who read out a book titled “Go Go Gorillas” to Primary Three pupils at the school, also emphasised that reading needs to be encouraged by different stakeholders.
“Parents, teachers and organisations need to get involved to promote reading for pupils to succeed. When pupils succeed, their countries succeed as well,” he added.
Celebrated under the UNESCO theme “Literacy and Sustainable societies”, this year’s International literacy day will be followed by a month of reading campaigns and tours around schools to promote the culture across the country.
Role of reading materials
Dr Joyce Musabe, the deputy director-general in charge of curriculum development at Rwanda Education Board, pointed out the need for active participation during the reading campaigns.
“A track of these reading activities in the different schools helps us gauge the impact of the materials we provide to schools,” Musabe said.
Musabe, who read excerpts from a Kinyarwanda book titled “Intama y’Inyaryenge n’Intare” to Primary One pupils, also called on learners and parents to develop interest in reading.
“To develop a reading culture, you need consistency. This is why parents need to get involved to help their children,” she added.
Odette Mujawimana, the school’s head teacher, lauded the support from Rwanda Education Board and USAID towards facilitating learning.
“When different people engage in reading activities, our pupils learn and they instill a similar behaviour in their parents. In the end, we all become involved and this is how we can promote the culture,” Mujawimana said.
Aline Nikuze, a Primary Five pupil, said the reading initiative would improve her vocabulary.
“This year, I was able to win the reading competition in Gasabo District because I learned the vocabulary in the book “David& Goliath”,” Nikuze said.
Twelve-year-old Cedrick Ishimwe also observed the importance of reading.
“From reading, I get new ideas and learn new words to improve my English language skills,” Ishimwe said.