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Monday, March 30, 2009

‘Lets read for Uganda’


For a long time, Uganda has been suffering from a painful disease called ‘poor reading culture.’

The complete cure of this disease has not been found yet but at least many are doing everything to contain it.
Taibah Junior School on Entebbe road, for example takes reading as a very important part of anyone’s life and has committed to buying new local and other reading materials for its pupils every term.

According to its deputy head teacher, Mr Umar Kasasa, the school has a reading festival every end of the term in which half the day is dedicated to reading competitions between classes and listening to recorded readings.

“On the time table we also have three hours of individual quiet reading every week that we call Eric (Everybody reads in class),” says Umar. “We also reward whoever is caught rewarding at school.’”

This is why on Wednesday, March 11, it became the first school in Kampala to benefit from a new programme by Fountain Publishers code-named ‘Let’s Read.’

The programme is intended for children in Ugandan primary schools - to inspire them to read stories for personal enjoyment. It’s being done by moving with local celebrities, artists, and prominent personalities such as kings and queens who talk to, read with and encourage children to love the culture of reading.

It explains why celebrated radio and television newsreader Francis Bbale and Ugandan childrens’ author Sarah Mirembe Kyankya held reading sessions with pupils of Taibah who then shared about their love of reading.

Tracy Rubondo of P5 read to her class from Lule the Lazy Boy by Janet Mdoe and said she finds reading entertaining and very instructive.

The children carried their own books ranging from titles like The Pit by Reginald Maddock to Mwambu and the Monster by Emmanuel Kamuli and The Art of War for Executives by Donald G. Krause, among others.

“Some of these children have made reading a passion already, and this school alone I’ve seen about three-five kids that really amaze you –they just love books like no body’s business,” said an impressed Mr Bbale. “It’s good to develop this reading culture at primary level –that way it becomes part of the person.”

Ten childrens’ books from the Once Upon a Time series –a collection of interesting folktales from eastern Africa, were donated to the school.

“The aim is inspire kids to read hoping that in the long run it will have a very significant impact as far as reading culture in Uganda is concerned,” said organiser Yusuf Kajura.

--Daily Monitor, Monday, March 16, 2009