Geographical location: Pol-Dokhtar, Ma’moulan, Khorram-Abad and Dorood in Lorestan province, Iran
Children’s age group: from the ages of nursery to adolescence
Number of children: about 1400
The date of the beginning: september 2019
The program is still running.
There are many deprived nursery schools in Lorestan province in the west of Iran. In September 2019, after a destructive flood swept through the province, “Read with Me” program undertook the task of covering 36 deprived nursery schools with about 1400 children in both rural and urban areas of Pol-Dokhtar, Ma’moulan, Dorood and Khorram-Abad for the first time by the help and support of The General Directorate of Welfare in Lorestan Province and The Association of Lorestan Nursery Schools. The first phase of this program started in September 2019 with the creative education of basic literacy through children’s literature.
In October 2019, 36 trainers participated in the first series of workshops taught by the experts of “Read with Me” program in order to learn how to teach basic literacy in a creative way by the use of basic literacy teaching packs, and how to perform the related activities. At the end of the workshop, each trainer received basic literacy packs and wall-mounted cloth book holders for their class in order to implement in their classes what they have learned in the workshop.
In December 2019, the “Read with Me” group traveled to the region for the second time to visit the nursery schools and assess the progress of the program and provide further guidance for the trainers. The second series of workshops were also held for the trainers. In this phase, about 1400 quality books of children’s literature were distributed among trainers so that they could hold reading-aloud sessions and perform the book-related activities.
According to the trainers in the nursery schools and the managers of these schools as well as the assessment of “Read with Me” experts, the program has had a remarkable effect on children. The program has turned the low-quality and lifeless nursery schools into creative and joyful centers. The general mood among trainers and children has changed; the speed and motivation as well as the depth of learning of literacy principles in children have improved; children are motivated to take part in the activities; and they have found their self-confidence. A lot of trainers believe that teaching by the use of quality books has brought motivation and changes not only for the students but also for the trainers themselves, as they enjoy the stories and their activities along with children. The trainers believe that this educational method is popular because it is purposeful and planned.
Nursery schools were affected greatly with the Covid-19 pandemic at the end of the educational year of 2020-2021. A lot of nursery schools had to turn to virtual or at-home teaching, and some of them were closed or half-closed. However, the trainers tried to maintain the quality and richness of the classes with the help of “Read with Me” program.
Considering the fact that families have to participate in the teaching of literacy skills to children, “Read with Me” program took another step in the years 1399-1400 (2021-2022) and developed a new program called “Reading with Family”. The main purpose of this program was taking book-reading and literacy learning into the families and turning each house into rich-literacy environments.
From among all the nursery schools in Lorestan, 6 of them (one in Dorood, three in Pol-Dokhtar, one in Khorram-Abad and on in Beiranvand region) were happy to join the “Reading with Family” program. As a result, more than 10 trainers and managers of nursery schools, more than 60 families and about 130 children and adolescents started working with “Reading with Family” program.
A list of books, such as the basic literacy packs and children’s literature books were sent to each school in the region based on the children’s age group. In this year, about 140 packages of creative basic literacy education and more than 280 quality books of children’s literature as well as guiding handbooks to perform the “Reading with Family” program were sent to the schools so that the trainers may hold monthly in-person or virtual educational sessions for the families, and the families may also take turns in borrowing books from the library on a regular basis.