Making Connections

We have now been in the boys school for the month of April.  It is so exciting to see the library space actually become a reality.  We bought colorful furniture and curtains, had the walls painted white, and arranged a large carpeted area for the kids to be able to sit down and read.

 Before

Before

 After

After

I am thoroughly enjoying my work with Neil and Lucia.  Neil is a fellow missionary with a background in bilingual primary teaching.  Lucia is the new CUDA staff member of the library program.  We seem to have a good time together and compliment each other's gifts.

The teachers are excited about the program.  We kicked off the first Thursday of the month with our first staff development meeting.  Counting the after-school staff meetings, the modeling time on Thursdays and Fridays in the libraries, the additional library scheduled hours, and observation lessons (CUDA staff observing teachers’ use of strategies), the teachers will be able to earn up to 100 hours of staff development this school year.  Increase in salary is an incentive to teachers that earn staff development hours throughout the year.  We hope for the ministry of education to put their stamp of approval on our plan and seal the deal with an inaugural signing very soon.  It is in the works.
 
This month we are teaching the strategy “Making Connections.”  The children are catching on (though we are spending a lot of time on procedures and routines of the library space).  As for the days that I work with first through third grades, I have read-aloud, organized several group activities, incorporated the teachers into helping model the strategies for the students, and allowed time for the students to read on the carpets.  The free-reading time is my absolute favorite.  First and second grade still skim through the pages.  They love the colorful illustrations.  But the last time that I taught the third grade, it was like pulling teeth to get them to put their books away to get ready to leave.  The picture of those boys immersed in reading and enjoying it is what makes this program completely worthwhile to me.

I recently read a quote that I would like to share: 

I was born in Bayonne, New Jersey. I grew up in the projects. I never went anywhere. But I have lived a thousand lives. I have loved a thousand loves. I’ve wandered distant worlds and seen the end of time because I read.
— George R. R. Martin

The location could easily be changed to Arequipa in this quote.  It is my prayer that many of our students can make the same statement one day about their experience in the Living Libraries program.