Scaffolding Better Literacy Skills
United Way Ghana’s partnership with Newmont Ghana Limited has engendered the capacity building program known as the Reading Oasis that would support children in schools to improve their reading and writing skills in order to help them thrive well in Ghana’s formal education system.
The Reading Oasis program is designed to complement the traditional structure of the Ghanaian educational system by engaging underprivileged children usually within the age group of 6 to 9 years of age, from primary classes 1 to 3, in diverse reading and writing activities on weekends in selected schools in Ghana to improve their reading and writing skills. The activities are overseen by United Way Ghana’s volunteers who have been successfully trained by the Ghana Library Authority and are, thus, adept in mentoring and imparting knowledge through various applicable means including the traditional didactic modes of teaching, reading and writing exercises, and the use of technological devices as teaching aids.
The belief that “education is not for everyone” is a myth. Certainly, academic performances may vary from student to student but in the words of Nelson Mandela: “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Every child has the right to be educated and deserves the opportunity to acquire and improve the basic skills in literacy that are required to build a reliable foundation that would enhance the child’s aptitude for education, hence, the implementation of the Reading Oasis Program.
One of the main reasons for the academic failure of a myriad of children, who struggle in schools to comprehend basic and advanced concepts that are taught as they progress within the educational system, is their ineptitude in literacy. An adequate level of literacy is essential to facilitate the process of studying and comprehension. Just as the Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget theorized, children within the aforementioned age group are at a concrete operational stage of cognitive development where they have the capacity to learn and make mental representations albeit on more perceptible concepts than abstract ones that they would be more capable of comprehending as they develop during adolescence. At this stage, children need all the support and mentorship available to help them build their learning capacity and excel academically in order to ensure that their development, possibilities in career choices and the creation of a positive social impact in the short term and long term are not limited. Indeed, the Reading Oasis has been a timely intervention that has overseen progress as children have been transformed from below average and average readers, to literates that are above average in skill and quality.
In a nutshell, United Way Ghana’s Reading Oasis is an ingenious program that contributes to the cognitive development of children and enhances the realization of their potential. Mastery of literacy is an indispensable goal that United Way Ghana is committed to helping children achieve due to the profound impact it has on their progress in schools and the social return it would bring on Ghana’s human resource and development in the near future.
The assemblyman for the Ruga community Hon Ibrahim Awal musah Issah said “I commend United way for their help towards the betterment of Ruga community during lockdown and for choosing to start a reading oasis program in the my community, he encouraged the students to attend and make good use of the available resources given them to help them become better readers”.