We have provided two shipments of readers to Vila East Primary School.
Used for pre-reading and early readers, the books are sourced in Australia and designed to be culturally appropriate for Pacific Islanders. Often, children in Vanuatu are expected to learn to read using donated encyclopaedias and other books decades out of date.
Literacy experts maintain that the importance of using students’ backgrounds, knowledge and experiences to inform learning in the classroom and during reading instruction cannot be underestimated. According to American pedagogical theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings, this type of culturally-relevant teaching is a “kind of teaching that is designed not merely to fit the school culture to the students’ culture but also to use student culture as the basis for helping students understand themselves and others, structure social interactions, and conceptualise knowledge.”
We are currently broadening our program to include other primary schools in Port Vila and very excited at the prospect of our books for schools initiative becoming an ongoing project.