Case study: Buddy Reading Kenya

December 25, 2015
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The NBDCK (National Book Development Council of Kenya) project aims to raise reading outcomes by offering extracurricular reading opportunities to public school children in the Kisii area of western Kenya. This is a micro level incremental innovation which originally included comparison to a control group, but this is no longer the case.  Grade six students (‘mentors’) are trained to read with grade 1 and 2 students (‘buddies’) during informal small group sessions supervised by teachers trained to this end. The groups sessions are held 2-4 times weekly on school grounds immediately after the school day.  Both mentors and buddies benefit, as mentors guide their group of 4-5 buddies through a reading process that includes picture reading, prediction, choral reading and mentors reading aloud to buddies.

The development of decoding skills is taught mostly during school hours and is less stressed at these times. In the NBDCK project, reading takes place in English, Swahili, and the mother tongue, Ekugusii. Age level materials are provided in all the three languages. NBDCK’s main implementing partner is the public schools.  This is a potentially low cost program, as mentors are not remunerated.  While the innovation is effective, the NBDCK is not particularly high in best practices.


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