It has finally happened: ‘La Cometa Lectora‘ (The Reading Kite) has begun its rotation to the Project Chiclayo programs! Last Saturday, the first visit took place in Villa El Sol with a very enthusiastic group of kids.
Centro Esperanza staff began buying books for the creation of a rotating library at the end of last year with funds given by Chalice to complement books that we already had (mainly thanks to donations over the years). Despite increased government funding in recent years in literacy and education here in the Lambayeque region of Peru, only 14 of every 100 school-aged children understand the texts they read. Thus, it seemed that creating a rotating library to encourage reading (and simultaneously increase reading comprehension, creativity and imagination, while improving spelling, grammar and syntax, etc.) would be a worthwhile project. I was excited about this undertaking last year, but disappointed that we were not able to launch the program before my return to Canada.
Making the dream of rotating library a reality was one of my motivations for returning to Centro Esperanza. We now have nearly 300 quality books that we chose carefully to promote values and morals; a healthy self-esteem; believing in one’s dreams; imagination; respect for all people despite gender, origin, culture, religion, physical appearance, etc.; childrens’ rights; and environmental protection, among other themes. Although it was not easy, we tried to buy books by Peruvian authors which incorporate national and local language, culture and geography, in addition to the themes mentioned above. There are books for toddlers meant to be read with their parents, short stories for young readers, basic chapter books and novels for teens or adults, plus encyclopedia-type books, an atlas, and some bilingual English-Spanish titles, including a beautiful song book.
Here are some glimpses from last Saturday’s session…When my helper Sylvia and I arrived with La Cometa Lectora (currently functioning out of a suitcase),
we found the children discussing how to care for books with their Project Chiclayo teacher Julissa,
a new member of the Project Chiclayo team. Flor, a Project Chiclayo teacher, can be seen in the background.
Of all the kids in Project Chiclayo, the ones in Villa El Sol are some of whom I know the least (with over 420 children and youth in the Project, it is impossible to work with all of them on a weekly basis). I was pleasantly surprised to see that those in attendance were avid readers with good reading comprehension.
Sylvia, an intern at Centro Esperanza and my helper for La Cometa Lectora,
is seen reading with a very personable Pedro. While I have no pictures of them, the two mothers who came to help with the snack at the end of the session were also enjoying the books.
After close to an hour of free reading time, it was time to turn La Cometa Lectora into a real kite: in other words, create its tail! Each boy and girl wrote “La Cometa Lectora me hace…” (“The Reading Kite” makes me…“) on a bow and then shared it with the group by reading their response in a clear, confident voice before adding their bow to the tail. Some of the answers included “aprender mucho más” (“learn much more”), “recordar cosas” (“remember things”), “sentirme muy feliz” (“feel very happy”), “ver dibujos y colores bonitos” (“see pretty drawings and colours”), “aprender nuevas palabras” (“learn new words”), “volar mi imaginación” (“makes my imagination fly”) and “expresar sentimientos de colores” (“express feelings of colours”).
I was impressed with their answers and, as with the other adults present, felt excited about how excited they were 😀
The session continued with the singing of “De Colores” (“[Made] of Colours”, a well-known folk song in the Spanish-speaking world) and the singing of the Peruvian version of Happy Birthday to one of boys in the program. It concluded with a snack of juicy apples and a round of “hasta pronto” (“see you soon”) hugs and kisses.
The name for the rotating library was chosen after the consideration of many names.
What does the name “The Reading Kite” evoke for you? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section.
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El nombre para la biblioteca rotativa fue escogida después de la consideración de muchos nombres.
¿Qué evoca el nombre “La Cometa Lectora” para usted? Me encantaría leer sus pensamientos en la sección de comentarios.