Basic Education Program in Kosovo: Children’s Book Fair on International Literacy Day
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Basic Education Program held its second Children’s Book Fair on September 6, 2013, in Pristina, Kosovo, as part of the celebration for International Literacy Day. Maureen A. Shauket, USAID/Kosovo Director, and Ramë Buja, Minister of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), visited the fair, which provided an opportunity for publishers from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia to showcase books for children.
The program, implemented by FHI 360 in partnership with Kosovo’s MEST and the Kosova Education Center, displayed its newly developed, graded reading books and mini-books for younger students and provided a demonstration of an online version of these books. In addition to displays of books, charts and other reading materials, the program presented a website where teachers can upload student-made books for students to read.
The student-made books were also on display, and children who visited the fair could make their own books from paper and recycled materials in a bookbinding corner. During the visit of the minister and USAID/Kosovo director, the program awarded prizes for the best books created by students. It also announced awards for the Best School Library competition.
“Bookmaking was the most interesting activity of the book fair, since I was able to create my own book and express myself through writing and drawing,” said Ida Krasniqi from Pristina.
As part of the Children’s Book Fair, the program arranged a Literacy Center where students practiced reading, writing and other communication skills. This classroom-based center will help students improve their reading skills and serve as a model that primary schools can replicate in their classrooms and libraries.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the program organized related activities at the Literacy Center.
“The dream of Martin Luther King is being fulfilled, since we are all working together in this Fair’s activities,” said Elsa Bilalli, a student from Pristina.
The Children’s Book Fair attracted wide media attention both before and during the event. Three TV shows from different stations followed the fair during the day and interviewed students. A children’s radio show, “Kolovajzat e se Dieles,” also broadcast from the fair.