Written by Flavia
About 2 years ago, Isa came to my house and asked me whether I would like to be part of Bookworm’s Library Program in Aldona. It seems they were looking for people who lived in Aldona to help rekindle the reading habit in primary school children. Dr. Mrs. Maria Aurora Couto, who lives in Aldona, had planned to launch the Alban Couto Project in association with Bookworm towards this cause.
Our first LiS (Library in School) session was on the 17th of June 2013. The kids of Std. 2 in St. Thomas Boys’ Primary School were as wide-eyed as I was, when Elaine Mendonsa read ‘Rain’ to the class. At that moment, I realised that this was probably the first time that most of these kids had ever heard a story. Stories from their text-books had surely been read aloud to them, but this ‘read aloud’ was a new experience altogether.
Over the last 20 months or so, I have led, observed and assisted at many read-alouds in 3 primary schools in Aldona. Sometimes it feels as though the kids are not listening to the story, but I suppose kids can multi-task quite well. Just when you think that the kid in that row who is playing with something in his desk and has not been listening, he raises his hand to answer your question – with an answer that you had not thought of!
My sessions in Aldona have resulted in me being recognised, even when I want to blend into the wood-work. At first, the kids were surprised to see me in the local bus or the market – I still don’t know why. However, now the kids and I both know that we can bump into each other anywhere. I have also seen parents who are shocked when their kids suddenly shout ‘Teacher!’ Then I hear the kid loudly whispering to the parent, ‘Library teacher.‘
This year, Bookworm decided to ask parents for their feedback on the program. Many parents responded saying that they were pleased with our work and that we should continue the good work. The wardens of the boarders at Auxilium, Carona as well as at St. Thomas Boys’ High School wrote positive notes in the form of each of their wards.
As with all such programs, there have some discouraging moments too – but these have also contributed to the growth of the program. However, as long as the kids welcome our arrival into their school premises – rushing to open gates and carry bags and boxes – we have no reason to doubt the success of LiS in Aldona.