Crash Boom Splash and laughter; it’s the sound of happy children playing together. But for a group of school children in Luuka district about 130km from Kampala, it was not at the usual swamp on their way home. Crash Boom Splash is the title of the book that they read in their classrooms at Budondo Primary School during one of our reading activities. In the weeks leading up to this years’ National Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, enjuba ran a book-giving campaign for school children in Luuka. This was to ensure that they had new beautifully illustrated books to read during the National DEAR Day activities. Luuka was reported one of the worst performing districts in Eastern Uganda at Primary Leaving Examination level in 2018.
enjuba together with the Ministry of Education, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), Peace Corps, and Mixakids work with schools and organizations across the country to create awareness about the importance of acquiring literacy skills like reading, spelling, and comprehension. By getting all Ugandans to drop everything and read and promoting a lifestyle of reading, especially among the younger generation, we expect to see an improvement in learning outcomes as they grow to love reading beyond preparation for exams.
This year’s DEAR day was certainly not business as usual, nor was it a repeat of last year. We all went the extra mile; KCCA resolved that one day just wasn’t enough, they had a whole week of group reading, buddy reading, and other reading activities for the schools in their jurisdiction. While the Country Director of Peace Corps Uganda joined the pupils of MM Wanyange Girls School to read, enjuba went ahead to collect and deliver books to Budondo Primary School in Luuka. It warmed my heart to see many people from all walks of life eagerly give ten thousand shillings and more, to ensure that a child who would not be able to afford a book got one. Special thanks go to Bethel Advisors and everyone who gave towards this cause.
On that bright Friday morning, we read Crash Boom Splash with children in Primary four and much to our surprise, they had no idea what those words meant! When we explained the meaning to them, they gasped and smiled knowingly, they were excited because they had learned one more way to describe their playtime; a situation they were very familiar with.
For a long time, playtime in Uganda was limited to dodgeball and jumping rope. Not anymore, the tide is changing as we embark on programs to transform the mindset of the majority of Ugandans and improve our reading culture. Reading intersects learning and fun at the same time, and the DEAR Day campaign has championed this initiative.
From the same book, the children learned that in order to be smart and wise, they must learn a new word every day. One thing is for sure, regardless of who or where you are, books with captivating stories have the ability to transport you along with them to any place at any time. So, this year children at Budondo Primary School and many others across the country dropped everything to read, have you read today? Are you encouraging your children to read? It is a skill they will use and thank you forever.