new reading system call Baobab Reading Scheme, produced by Abooku, a UK-based
charity, have been launched for Gambian schools.
The reading scheme is founded by schools in the West Midlands areas of the United Kingdom with funding from Thomas Cook Children’s Charity. It was introduced in The Gambia after closed consultation with Gambian teachers.
It is a fully comprehensive and structured scheme designed to complement and enhance the existing phonic scheme currently used in The Gambia. It features Gambian characters and situations that will be familiar to Gambian school children.
Each child will receive a take-home sequence of 144 mini books to share with family members.
Dr. Desmond Bowden of Abooku said, “Each teacher using the scheme will receive training and support materials including big book and teachers’ material to assist in the delivery of the scheme.
It will be rolled out in Bakau Newtown Lower Basic, Bijilo Nursery, Mandinari Lower Basic, St. John’s School for the Deaf, Tallinding Lower Basic, Wellingara Lower Basic and The Gambia Secretariat for Islamic Arabic Education.
“We are very grateful to people and organisations both in The Gambia and UK who helped us in developing the Baobab Reading Scheme,” Dr. Bowden said.
Kumba Saidy, a Gambian teacher and consultant of the scheme said she was excited about the scheme and looks forward to using it with their children at Mandinari Lower Basic School. “The Baobab Reading Scheme is planned to provide some basic reading materials which will enable young readers to practice the newly learnt sounds and to develop their reading skills,” Hannah Pickles said.
She said the reading materials were developed in conjunction with Gambian reading experts and teachers to ensure that the content and context is relevant to The Gambia. “It is planned that school children will be able to take the simple produced booklets home to study and share.”
Mrs. Saidy said one of the challenges they encountered before the establishment of the reading scheme was funding. “We hope that the new reading scheme will help children in The Gambia because in England, children take books home to read and we want Gambian children to enjoy reading as well.”