"Awake and Shine" Readers
The Rotary Club of Benalla, District 9790 (Victoria, Australia) has since 2007 supported the Awake and Shine Primary School in the village of Samthar, District Kalimpong, North-West Bengal close to the border with Nepal, where the population includes many expatriate Nepalese (see awakeandshine.org).
A primary objective of the school is to enable admission to English medium schools (public or private) upon completion of primary education. To support this goal Margot Sherwill, a member of RC Benalla and highly qualified literacy teacher, spent two years writing a set of graded readers The set comprises 145 titles and reflects the Victorian education system. The books are designed to span 4 years of teaching starting in early learning centres, with a 'new' book introduced to a class each week. Content is relevant to the local community, incorporating photos taken locally.
Each book is printer in A3 format, the pages laminated, for class use by teachers. Smaller versions are printed for student use.
Margot and her friend Ula Sheather, a past early years education consultant in English and maths and member of the Rotary Club of Bairnsdale (D9820), have worked with the teachers to develop their teaching skills and practices using the books.
LEARN's trainers attended Margot and Ula's training, reaching the conclusion that the readers are ideally suited to our needs and aspirations in Western Nepal. We have therefore chosen to incorporate them into the LEARN training programs. While we would like to supply each school with full sets of both large ans small readers, the cost of this is prohibitive (AU$ 1,150 per set despite low-cost printing in India), so we compromise by providing four sets of large books per cluster of schools for shared use.