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 weekswhile 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.