Teenage Librarians of “Read with Me” in Zagros Mountains

For the first time in this summer, by supplying the book packs to nomadic students in Kouhrang, Lorestan, these children had the chance to read and enjoy books on the days off from school. Four teenagers aged 10 to 12 received the book backs and read the books to other children and gave them books to enjoy during the break hours.

Due to the distance and dispersal of the nomads among the mountains, the remoteness of the black tents from the schools and the lack of access to mobile phones, accessing and guiding these children was hard. Therefore, one of the trained, motivated and compassionate teachers of the “Read with Me” program accepted to visit these children and report their work process in addition to their guidance and encouragement.

According to her report, nomadic children, even kids, whether girls and boys have many responsibilities in the summer and are involved in livestock, shepherds, bringing water from the wells for family and sheep, and so on. Even the first grade children are not free because they have to take the goat kids for grazing. Students from fifth and sixth grades will also help their families in more difficult tasks such as harvesting and threshing.

Thus, these children do not have a lot of leisure time. Many of them take the livestock for grazing in the morning and evening. Their only leisure time is from 11 am to 3 pm-4 pm, and that’s when they read. During this time, children refer to the young adult librarian and make the most of the time. In places where the tents are close together, students can better communicate and use the book packs. However, where tents are scattered and distant, children’s access to the books is more difficult.

Besides, at the beginning of the summer, in addition to these children, seven students in five elementary schools were also selected as summer librarians to help the children of their villages enjoy the books during the summer.

The “Read with Me” program started in Kouhdasht- Lorestan province since summer 2014 with the support of a number of benefactors and the Fund for Education & Empowerment of Working Children affiliated to the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature and during this period, nearly 3000 children were covered in the area.

In the academic year 2017-2018, following the third year of implementing the “Read with Me” program in the region, with the aim of providing more extensive book.

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