Reading Village

Reading Village conducts a variety of education and reading promotion activities in five small towns in Guatemala.  Their core program is “Leaders and Readers” in which they work closely with a group of over 60 student “reading promoters” to facilitate basic literacy, encourage efforts of children reading to other children and develop the leadership skills of the promoters. While the communities where Reading Village works are small and poor, based on an economy of subsistence agriculture and weaving, the social fabric is very strong with active local leadership that wants Reading Village in their community.

RV - Girls Reading

Reading Village is initiating an Independent Reading Program in which their student reading promoters manage a small lending library for community children.  This practice had been going on in an informal way.  Children in the towns were naming their favorite books, a key development in encouraging love of reading.  When they got a book, they were reading it to their siblings, sharing their reading skill and presenting it as a value to their younger siblings.  Now, student reading promoters will maintain a book register to keep track of the books being lent and have a sealed container to protect the books.

Reading Village’s programs operate within a different dynamic than the typical Guatemalan school.  Schools have a very hierarchical and controlled structure with teachers doing all the talking.  Children are often intimidated about speaking to their teacher.  In contrast, Reading Village programs encourage interaction and positive connections between students and staff.RV - 003

Programs have documented results.  In the communities where Reading Village has been involved the longest, the students have a higher comprehension level, read more time each week out of school for pleasure and have a greater love of reading.

Student reading promoters are progressing in education and career following participation in the program.  Nearly 78% of graduates are employed, many in the vocational tracks they studied in high school including nursing, teaching, accounting and administrative positions.  Forty percent are studying at the university level.  Two graduates are in the second year of a three year fellowship at the Asturias Academy, an innovative K-12 school in which they are learning to become master teachers and social entrepreneurs who will eventually start their own schools.

Reading Village has a program model that delivers results and provides significant opportunity to disadvantaged students in rural Guatemala.