| August 1, 2011

Taking A Reading Vacation


School’s deserted…Eerie. But soon there will be iRead Vacation School.

Ah, the long break between school terms. Is there any better time to kick back and catch up on those books you’ve long been meaning to power through? Knowing what a simple pleasure that is and seeing how quickly our kids in Ghana have latched onto reading, Worldreader recently launched iRead Vacation School.

iRead Vacation School gives the Worldreader students at Adeiso and Kade primary, junior high, and senior high schools access to their e-readers during school vacation, Zev Lowe, director of development research and pilot operations, told us after his trip to Ghana last week. Teachers will be in the classrooms from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday for the next five weeks. That means our kids can keep trucking through their favorite e-books, too.

The idea for iRead Vacation School came from balancing two immediate needs. On one hand, we wanted to encourage the voracious reading habit we’ve seen kids develop during the last eight months of the trial program. Based on the mid-term results, we know our students are spending 50% more of their time reading than before, and school holidays should be no excuse to stop what’s clearly becoming a good routine.

But, we also wanted to ensure that the e-readers would find their way back to the classrooms when school starts again in September. For any number of reasons, including electricity outages, flooding, and rural infrastructure issues, we were worried that the kids – and their e-readers – may not return immediately after vacation. Keeping the e-readers in the schools and asking teachers to be available in the mornings solved both dilemmas.

Over the next few months, the Worldreader team will be winding down the initial yearlong iRead trial period and ramping up for the next phase. Details are being ironed out as we speak, but  here’s one fun thing we’re putting in place: Kids with good attendance will earn store credit, which they can use to buy whatever book they want. We’re also investigating  solar-charging solutions to keep the e-readers fired up. Zev promises to share the news as it unfolds.

In the meantime, for quick updates follow us on twitter (@worldreaders) or Facebook.

And, of course, enjoy these new photos from Zev.

The last day of school!

Parents discuss iRead Vacation School.

Crazy flooding in Kade. Due to poor infrastructure (road drainage, electricity, etc.), otherwise minor events lead to huge disruptions in the day. Often, when it rains, people don’t go to school or work at all. Kids miss a lot of school for these reasons, and many others.