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Reading to Understand: Improved Curriculum Resources

  |   community programs, education, investor spotlight, partnership trip, travel, zambia

On our Impact Trips to Zambia, the days are packed. But without fail, during each day we spend with our partners at Hope Community School, there is one hour of time where everything gets quite still. If you were to join us for just that hour, you would find our travelers all in one classroom of the school, sitting with a student partner on a desk bench together, heads bent over the desk, taking terns reading aloud from storybooks.


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The time spent reading aloud is a treasured interaction for our travelers – and the school leaders at Hope have told us how powerful of a motivator it can be for the students who are given this one-on-one attention. Patrice Prentice, one of our recent travelers found this part of our trip particularly inspirational, and as an educator is helping us to make our impact with this program even more profound.


One of the aspects of the program that Patrice loved was the fact that reading is so fundamental, so every traveler had the ability to leave a powerful impact: “You can just go and if you can read and write in a basic way, you can make a difference with these kids – you don’t need special skills.”


But, she also noticed that though the students are quite good at reading the words aloud, they seemed to struggle with reading comprehension. This got her educator wheels turning. Building from work she did in Vietnam previously, she has partnered with Spark Ventures to develop curriculum resources that will complement the reading time to help target improved reading comprehension. She is crafting 8 to 10 lessons which will include activities our travelers can do with their student partners – games that will help underscore comprehension. Collaborating with an ESL teacher she knows, Patrice is building a short-list of activities that will encourage the students to engage with the text and think about what the words really mean.


Patrice is counting down the days until the July trip to Zambia when she can put her new curriculum into practice – “I’m very excited to go back an try it!” If you want to join her (and us) on this trip, you can find more details here.