Creating a Culture of Readers

Over the years, Gondar educational administrators and teachers voiced their concern for increasing the educational and literacy levels of their student body. One way they understood was to create a culture of readers by exposing them to written stories through books, a significant lack in most of their school libraries.

In the initial years, the director and teachers at Tsadiku Yoahnnes (TY) Elementary School, our first adopted Gondar sister city school, requested books. The part-time librarian indicated the school library was used by students primarily to complete homework assignments, with few books allowed to be checked out to their homes. As part of the effort to make TY a “model school” for the district, CSCA-G’s first major task was to raise funds for the librarian to receive advanced training. As a member of the “model school committee, Dr. Yigzaw Kebede, Public Health Department, Gondar University, indicated that the librarians at the university are well-trained and could serve as trainers for the librarian at TY.

Equally important was the need to embed student use of the library in professional development training of teachers. Teachers were encouraged to use the library as part of their curriculum content. Over the next several years, CSCA-G provided purchase of books upon request by teachers of TY School.

More recently, CSCA-G contributed to and supported the creation of bilingual children’s books through Ready Set Go Books, published by Open Hearts Big Dreams. Through our collaboration, several hundred bilingual books have been distributed to Gondar schools by Ethiopia Reads, 2018. Wilson Elementary School 5th graders in Corvallis illustrated two of these bilingual books for distribution: “Gondar, City of Kings” and “The Glory of Gondar” (top right picture) and also available through Amazon. The 2019 delegation brought many of these books with them, along with 600 early readers that were donated by Wilson Elementary to be distributed among 4 schools in Gondar.