A teacher in Ghana receives new tools to boost early grade reading
Raphael Ayeriba is a primary school teacher and curriculum lead at Bambaya Presbyterian Primary School in the Yendi Municipal District in northern Ghana. For 11 years, he and other early grade teachers have had difficulty helping pupils learn to read. Teachers like Raphael have had inadequate reading materials and training in instructional approaches to facilitate learning.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Partnership for Education: Learning (Learning), FHI 360 and its partners, the Ghana Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service, have been working to improve reading achievement and instruction in early grades. Learning has focused on teaching pupils the building blocks of reading and improving their reading ability in all 11 approved Ghanaian languages of instruction, training teachers to apply a phonics-based approach to reading, and creating and distributing new guides for teachers and books for pupils.
To achieve this, Learning developed a prototype for instructional materials in Dagbani, the lingua franca in much of Ghana’s northern region and one of the 11 Ghanaian languages approved by the Ministry of Education for use in schools. After the prototype materials were tested and found to be successful, the project scaled up to produce teachers’ guides and pupil books in all 11 languages. By 2019, more than 2.5 million early grade reading materials will be distributed to more than 7,000 schools in 100 districts in all 10 regions of Ghana. And, more than 30,000 teachers, head teachers and school-based curriculum leads will go through training. These efforts will benefit 1.1 million pupils from kindergarten through primary 2.
Raphael and his colleagues participated in teaching and learning demonstrations and practicums to increase their familiarity with the new reading materials and improve their skills for teaching literacy in Dagbani. The training and materials led to success. “In six to eight weeks, most of the children in my school could identify letters and sound them [out] because of the new approach we learned … . Reading has become meaningful, and therefore children enjoy reading.” With improved reading ability, Raphael’s students have increased confidence and attend school more regularly.
Photo credit: FHI 360