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Guided Participation
May 31, 2015

In our work, we are presently unable to find any person who can step into the programs and take on a session in spite or despite claims to being bibliophiles, in love with children’s books and children, wanting to always have a wagon of books and share them with all and multiple other claims of this nature. All of the above, incidentally come from prospective applicants to Bookworm. 

While all of the above and then some are necessary pre requisites in our work, doing what we do systematically and with love only comes from guided participation. I use the term in the context I understand it from Barbara Rogoff‘s brilliant work in Apprenticeships in Thinking, where she clarifies the role of children’s cognitive development within the framework of sociocultural theory. 

While our team at Bookworm are not children, we are all active learners and I believe that we learn best in a sociocultural environment with guided participation.  Rogoff views instruction as an interactive process where every one jointly participates but there is a gradual transfer of responsibility of activity to the learner. 

In our organic environment at Bookworm, the strength of our work rests on this premise. Gradually responsibility gets transferred as we all jointly participate in activities and build on a socially valuable practice of growing and nurturing readers. 

This Saturday, our preschool session was led by Melcom. A year ago Melcom a young lad of 20 had never worked with children, had barely read any story books had very little understanding about the ways and means to bring stories alive, to read aloud, to initiate thinking and discussion and to scaffold learning and build on literacy skills.  What Melcom knew in his intuitive self was that he was badly taught and there must be a better way and he allowed us to guide him. Over the course of many months and moons, Melcom has been guided by his participation in multiple activities and sessions at Bookworm and this Saturday he led a preschool session where I know he nurtured something special. 





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