BOOSTING EARLY LITERACY AT THE DUHA SCHOOL

Last summer, Danielle Lower, a REAP volunteer, and a graduate of Rollins College,

visited Duha School. Realizing that grade one is the largest grade at the school with

715 students with a third of students struggling with reading and writing in

Kinyarwanda (mother tongue), she initiated a holiday school program to improve

literacy in grade one.

The program aims at providing extra Kinyarwanda literacy lessons when the school

is on vacation. Research shows that strong literacy in mother tongue is a base for

literacy in learning English, the language of instruction in grade 4.

Grade 1 teachers recommend students for the program basing on their performance

in Kinyarwanda. Students then take a proficiency test and are placed in 3 levels

(very low, low and middle). Teachers provide remedial instruction for two weeks

while the school is on vacation.

Last year, 44 of 70 students in “low” moved to “middle” while 46 of 52 moved from

“very low” to “low”. The success of the program has increased the number of

participants to 106 during this holiday period.