Over the past few years, we have seen Maranyundo Girls School student’s love of reading reading grow in leaps and bounds since we first wrote about the emerging reading culture at the school back in 2014.
As the school grows, so does the popularity of the school library. With the school now equipped with fast fiber-optic internet, the library computers are now a much bigger draw for students doing research. New tablets have joined the mix, giving more students access to internet research or the ability to access content from the Raspberry Pi.
The school Kindles are in high rotation as students read chapters and excerpts of books for class, or for pleasure. Both the Kindles and the Raspberry Pi, accessed through the tablets or the desktop computers, have a growing number of books by African authors.
During free time, girls flock to the library to exchange books, work on homework, read, or do internet research. With the addition of the High School, there has been a real surge in the numbers of students using their free time to research universities, build their English vocabulary, and look into and apply to interesting summer programs like the Yale Young African Scholars Program.
Of course, even with the growing access that students have to technology and the internet, there still is no substitute for the real thing. The number of students taking physical books out of the library has also increased as the school has grown. Students still walk between classes with their noses stuck in books. This growing love of reading is very exciting. Though the national language is English, most girls speak Kinyarwanda at home and with each other outside of the classroom. Reading for fun is an engaging way to build reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. Students who read more improve their writing skills too, just through the joy of reading.
When students arrive they often rush right to the book shelves to see if any new books have arrived or been returned. Some books are so popular that they are checked out again only minutes after being returned. Many of the book’s covers, those that are a particular favorite with the girls, are worn white from so many hands and hours of reading and the bindings are beginning to let go. Fantasy and science fiction continue to be very popular popular for the younger girls (think Harry Potter and The Hunger Games). The upper secondary students are reading the new non-fiction books like Grit and Lab Girl.
The Maranyundo Initiative office is full of great books that have been donated, and we will be shipping out 11 heavy boxes just in time for International Literacy Day on September 8th, 2016.
If you are interested in helping the Maranyundo Initiative supply more great books to the Maranyundo Girls School Library, you can purchase books off of our Amazon Gift List. You can also learn more about how to support the Maranyundo Initiative here.
The new bigger library will be completed by the beginning of the new school year, which will be just in time as the school is quickly outgrowing the current library space as it doubles its size beginning next year!