The United States agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) have launched the “USAID Innovating Activity, project to help improve reading skills of children in deprived communities.
The four-year activity will serve as a catalyst to support public action at the family and community levels to promote the culture of reading and literacy in Ghana.
The project aims at helping 1.1 million children to read at kindergarten and primary level by 2019.
Partnership with media
Launching the project in Accra last Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson said the USAID would partner the media to publicise the benefits of reading at home and team up with civil society and the private sector to encourage reading throughout communities.
“Children mostly spend their day outside the classroom. To become good readers, they need to practice in their rooms and communities. We will facilitate a culture of reading in the community and home,” he said.
Mr Jackson said the USAID would provide grants to communities in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Volta and Northern regions to help come up with locally-owned and culturally effective ways to improve reading in Ghana.
He urged stakeholders to encourage members in the communities to make time to read to children and also encourage them to read to them.
“Impart to your children the joy and discipline of reading. Make sure your child has access to books and know how important it is to read,” he urged.
Advice to children
He also advised the children to make time after school and on weekends to read and complete their homework.
“It is the best investment you can possibly make in your future and once you get started, I promise it will be extremely fun,” he advised.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Mr Enoch Kwabena who read a speech on behalf of the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) (2) revealed that about 20 per cent of children between the ages of five and six had some members of their household read to them a few times in a week.
“It is, thus, heart-warming to note that this project will address this dimension since families are better placed to support children’s reading,” he added.
Mr Kwabena also assured the public that the ministry would facilitate the application of the results of a study conducted in 200 communities to encourage the practice of reading among children.
fe, however, urged the Education Development Centre Inc. (EDC) which is the implementing partner, to work hard at their outlined key activities which included raising public awareness through local and national media campaigns to support parents and guardians.