Feature Friday Literacy Program

Taking Literacy to New Heights

Ruth Nakkidugge has taken Sister Schools’ Literacy Training Program to new heights through her regular workshops and visits to our Resource Centers.  In addition to workshops every term, she’s also worked closely with Liz Silva, SS board member and local educator, to host regular Skype Sessions between American and Ugandan teachers.

Liz herself has traveled to Uganda twice during her summer breaks.  That gave her the opportunity to forge real connections with Ugandan educators and build a foundation of trust: “going into schools and telling teachers how to do their jobs is never an effective strategy.  This is why our focus was to work collaboratively with the educators in Uganda.  It took time to build relationships.”  Liz witnessed this trust pay off on her second trip to Uanda in 2019, when math and science teachers attended a workshop in addition to librarians and English instructors.  “This might not seem like a big deal, but it is a huge accomplishment of our program.  It is a true sign that reading has become a priority in schools.  This mindset shift will impact every Ugandan student in a positive way.”

Ruth and Liz worked together to create monthly Skype Sessions where educators from around the world can learn from one another.  One particular challenge that they addressed was how to teach reading and assess progress when each student has a different book in their hands.  “On the US side, we shared what works well for us and the Ugandan teachers shared what was working for them” with each other.  “Teachers were willing to take risks and try new techniques . . . The shift in reading culture was palpable” according to Liz.

These sessions have certainly had an impact on Ruth as well: “I acquired so many techniques and skills on how to handle students in reading lessons regardless of their individual differences.  I experienced lively classes as teachers demonstrated a number of methods to use in reading lessons which also added so much to how I should handle a particular class in reading lesson.  Skype Sessions added so much on my performance as a teacher and as an individual.”

By working as a team, Ugandan and American teachers have been able to utilize technology to fundamentally alter how literacy is taught and books are used in our partner schools.  It’s because of the dedication of Katherine, Jean, and Kate that Sister Schools was able to launch the program in 2016 – Ruth and Liz have since taken it to the next level.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top