Image: Elizah Thomas silences the crowd with his reading skills as his teacher flips the pages
Results of literacy effort begin to show after eight months when the Literacy Library was first opened within the grounds of Kuluanda Elementary School, about ten minutes outside Tari town in Hela province.
Elizah Thomas is a five-year-old from Kupari village in Tari, Hela Province. He is shy and does not talk or play much. But when called upon to read to his peers and the public at the Kuluanda Literacy Library last week, he trudged up, in bare feet and tonnes of confidence, silencing the crowd with his clear voice and new-found literacy skill.
Thomas’ thrilling reading act was one of the highlights of August 11, the final day of a week-long event organised at the literacy library to mark the annual National Book Week. The children put up role plays and activities in front of emotional parents and the general public to show what they have learnt.
The crowd was not only amazed by Thomas’ reading skill, but also at the progress that he, his peers and the teachers have made in eight short months since the library first opened.
Linus Lindipe, representing the parents, said he and the others were fascinated by the displays, the plays and the children’s ability to read. He thanked the teachers at the Literacy Library for their commitment in teaching the children how to read and write.
He also praised the Kuluanda Primary School, Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP), the Catholic Church and Oil Search Foundation for working together to set up the library and helping mould their children at an early age. Mr. Lindipe said it was the first time for parents to see their children participate in the National Book Week, and they are excited about the future of their children.
The week-long National Book Week program involved the children and the local community, culminating with Friday’s event. Buk bilong Pikinini, Oil Search Foundation’s partner in the roll out of literacy libraries, facilitated the week-long program.
The Literacy Library was set up through a partnership between OSF, BbP, the Catholic Diocese of Mendi and the Hela Department of Education to provide early literacy programs for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. It has been in operation for eight months and is staffed by four teacher librarians.