[lg policy] Local language books can enhance children’s reading competencies

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 11:21:02 EDT 2018

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language books can enhance children’s reading

By Nicholas Bwebare

I react to the story, ‘Pupil’s reading skills improve’ in the New Vision of
Thursday. This was attributed to the teaching and learning in local
languages in lower primary classes. It is a good observation that needs to
be strengthened for the benefit of our children.

The idea of teaching in local languages generally enhances children’s early
learning abilities. It is now evident from the report of Uganda National
Examinations Board that learners in schools that use local languages easily
acquire skills in letter identification, letter sounds, vocabulary,
listening, comprehension and oral passage reading.

This is commendable and should be supported with provision of more local
language books so that the skills are transferred to even to upper primary
classes. Children love reading stories in their own languages with a focus
on their immediate communities, and not about other unrelatable topics.

Children’s pursuit of reading stories is developed once they are able to
describe things around them. These stories are the window to their world of
fantasy, reality as well as developing competencies.

Books written in local a language are often developed basing on what is
found in the areas that these children are found. This is captivating,
engaging and connect to their souls with the reading materials. Children
cannot learn to read effectively, if there are few or no reading materials
to read.

The Ministry of Education and Sports should focus more on purchase of books
to support the initiative. Children learn even faster when reading
materials are available.

Teaching a child in their mother tongue is very important as it gives them
identity. The thematic curriculum, which stresses the lower primary
teaching in local languages is good for our children.
The government of Uganda has a language policy that supports mother
language instruction and learning at the early grade level. This should be
supported by all stakeholders, including our development partners, to
enable schools have local language reading materials.

*Nicholas Bwebare,*
*Educationist in Kampala*


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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