Geographical location: South of Birjand
Age-group: Preschool and first grade of Elementary School
Number of Children: 720
Number of Teachers: 39
Start Date: October 2014
The Read with Me project started its activities in Khusf from October 2014. Since then, it has covered 720 children, 270 of which were in Preschool and 450 others in Elementary School. 15 tutors of Preschool, 24 teachers of Elementary School and a total of 39 tutors and teachers have participated in the RWM workshops since its debut. This project has been implemented in Khusf by the financial support of Yavari Cultural Community and with the cooperation of the South Khorasan Department of Education.
Khusf is the third largest town in the province. Its amaryllis is famous and of high quality and is sent to other areas.
There are 4000 students, 704 classes, 12 preschools and 74 first grade of Elementary schools in this town. There is a dispersion of population in this region due to its large area. Therefore, the population density of the students is 0.25/km².
Khusf joined the Read with Me project in 2014/15. In the first year, the project covered 126 children in Preschool, 222 in Elementary School and a total of 348 children in this town. In the first phase, 7 Preschool tutors and 11 Elementary School teachers participated in four workshops on 13-14 November 2014 including: “Quality Books, Reading Aloud and Story Elements”, “Art workshop” (How to set a scene for a book), “Learning Sounds & Learning Alphabet” and “Art workshop 2” (How to make a mask).
The second set of RWM workshops included: “Learning Sounds & Learning Alphabet 2”, “Songs and Rhythm”, “Story Elements”, “Reading Aloud” and “Living Values 1 & 2” which were held on 26-27 February 2015 for preschool and elementary school tutors and teachers. The RWM experts scheduled two visits in the academic year of 2014/2015 (January 2015 and June 2015) to evaluate the progress of the project in this town.
In the summer of 2015, two groups of selected teachers and tutors of South Khorasan traveled to Tehran for a three-day stay. In these three days, they participated in the advanced workshops of RWM. The first day included workshops about “The Environment”, “Children’s Literature and Quality Books”, “Children’s Book Illustration and Teaching Rhetoric Techniques” and “Reading Aloud”. The second day included advanced workshops on “Reading Aloud”.
By the beginning of the academic year of 2015/16, RWM also started its second year of activities in this city. In 17-18 December 2015, advanced workshops including “The Environment and Books”, “The Dictionary of Riddles Workshop” and “Marionette” were held for Preschool tutors. RWM experts also held some workshops for the newly-joined first grade teachers, because some of the previously trained teachers had been transferred to other areas. These workshops included “Learning Alphabet and Learning Sounds”, “Dramatic Arts” (How to make masks and hand puppets, how to set a scene, backstage and performing plays), “Children’s Literature”, “Quality Books”, “Story Elements” and “Reading Aloud”. The teachers were also familiarized with the methods of documentation, writing reports, working with books and handbooks and filling Observation Notebooks.
In 16-17 January 2016, the RWM experts traveled back to South Khorasan and visited this town to observe the procedure of the teachers regarding “Reading Aloud”, “Activities before and after Reading” and “Activities related to Learning Sounds and Learning Alphabet”. The experts also helped the teachers regarding their questions and problems, pointed out their strengths and applauded them for their hard work. In mid-March 2016, supplementary workshops were held in this town in which teachers, tutors and a number of school principals participated. These workshops included: “Reading Aloud”, “Learning Sounds 2”, “The Dictionary of Riddles Workshop”, “Living Values”, “The Environment” and “The Globe of Peace”.
A final conference at the end of the academic year was held in May 2016 at the House of the Teachers of Birjand in which 95 Preschool tutors and teachers from Birjand, Khusf and Darmian who had been involved in the project for 2 years were praised for their performance.