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The negative impact of COVID 19 on students throughout Zimbabwe cannot be underestimated, with the majority losing two full years of learning, and many children’s reading and writing abilities in our area at an all-time low. Due to this, literacy is at the forefront of most of the CITW Zambezi team’s projects this year – the first being the teacher literacy workshop carried out at the beginning of this month.

Given that visits to schools are often at the top of many travellers’ to-do lists when in Zimbabwe, our team has implemented a simple, fun, yet effective reading lesson for guests to give to students during their visits. As a result, these lessons are mutually beneficial for the visitors and children, because guests are able to interact and observe schools in Zimbabwe, while students obtain essential literacy skills through the lesson. With reinforcement and repetition being one of the most important tools when teaching children to read, these lessons align with the lesson plans and materials provided to the teachers who attended our literacy workshop at the beginning of the month.

These reading packs comprise 18 different stories, all of which contain various materials to make the lesson for the student as fun and as interactive as possible – while maintaining reinforcement and repetition. Our packs include tools, such as sequence cards and puppets of the characters in the book they are reading, for guests to use to act out the story with the child once they have read through it. As well as this, each student is able to colour in and take home a small book of the same story they read during the lesson.

Many visitors have already had a reading lesson visit using our packs, with so many of them commenting that being able to make a tangible impact on the lives of children is one of their most incredible experiences,. Our hope is that, in time, these students will be capable of reading on their own, and discover the knowledge that can be found when reading a book. Because, after all, between the pages of a good book is one of the best places to be!