Aidinha and Mira writing the alphabet.
About 15 months ago we started the reading program. Many of the girls, and the boys, even up to fifth grade, cannot read. They did not catch on in first grade, so they were passed to second and third and so on without any extra attention. Or they started school late, but because of their age, were put straight into a class without assessing their abilities. Then in school, it is allot of repeating what the teacher says back to him, or copying off the chalk board. But not so much mental work, so it is easy to slide along, without ever learning. And this is the problem we discovered.
It started with Ellie and one of the tias and I testing all the girls to see where they were at. If they could read 4th grade or better, or read a few easy words, or if they didn't even know their vowels, let alone the whole alphabet.
After that, the tias worked with the girls in the afternoons with chalk boards and paper and books and flash cards. Some of them still struggle, but many of them have improved so much! I started working last year in September in the school (we have a school for the children here, and the community--preschool through 7th grade), and now I am working with 40 fourth graders on Thursday and Friday mornings, learning to read.
God has really given me some strategies. Some times I will be praying, and an idea pops into my head. Or I'll be laying in bed and God starts giving me creative plans how to teach these kids. Last week I was playing "Memory" with some of the girls. And then I thought, "I should make a memory game with the letters of the alphabet!" I did on the computer, printed them out on pink paper, cut it out, and laminated the cards. The kids in the school love it. They get to play a game, and don't even realize how much they are learning. It was great, because so many of them don't know the alphabet, and I have been struggling how to teach it to them so they would get it. This was such a great idea! They are learning the letters, and matching them. They are learning to memorize--by remembering where the cards are placed. They are learning to see small differences--like the difference between b and d and p. It's so good for them.
It's so exciting when you are teaching a child, and suddenly something "clicks" in their mind, and they get it! They are so thrilled and proud of themselves. God's doing some great teaching here, and it's a privilege to be a part of it.
P.s. 42 days---yes, just 6 weeks, and I will be going HOME!!:o)