Literacy Camp Testing
Yesterday, PEPY’s 47 literacy camp teachers tested over 400 students in reading and writing. To do so in one day is no small feat, even with a motivated team! Though students were split into testing groups meant to come at different times, nearly everyone showed up before 7AM, eager to have a reason to come to school again after 6 weeks of vacation. After a group writing test, half of the teachers did individual reading tests in classrooms while the other half led the students in energizer games, songs and even some Khmer traditional dance. After enthusiastic renditions of “if you’re happy and you know it”, and lively parachute games most students were too happy to be nervous reading the consonants, vowels, and passages of the test when their name was called.
Last year’s camp included nearly 300 students from Chanleas Dai school. This year, we decided along with the school principals to accept students from the entire commune, though we limited participants to incoming grades 3-6. Over half of our students this year come from villages other than Chanleas Dai. We are excited for the chance to inspire a love of reading in students from other areas! We’ve seen already through testing that the students coming from other schools are significantly weaker in both reading and writing than those attending Chanleas Dai. While we take this as good news in terms of program evaluation, it is also reminds us that we could spread our impact much further by including other teachers and students in the workshops we do. We hope that by inviting teachers and students from all over the commune to participate in this year’s camp, we can do just that.
While teachers have already been training, preparing, and working for over a week, camp for students officially starts on Monday. Leveled into small groups based on their test scores, the groups (named after their teachers’ favorite animals) will spend 6 days doing reading and writing activities, writing stories, playing games, and writing and singing songs about literacy. On the last morning, their parents will join them for a show-and-tell day highlighting student work and performances.
Though we don’t expect literacy levels to rise during 6 days of study, we hope that camp will provide an opportunity for teachers and students to spark or renew an enthusiasm for learning, specifically reading.