Saide's African Storybook Project is an initiative to stimulate the provision and use of openly licensed stories in local African languages for early reading. The project will conduct pilots in rural and urban sites across Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho and South Africa. More detail is available in our latest programme description, a video that was produced at the October Research Colloquium, kindly funded by the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia, and our brochure.
Why the African Storybook Project?
Over the last decade, African governments have made dramatic progress in pursuing the goal of Education for All. However, the reading literacy levels of African children after the first three years of schooling are far from adequate, both in providing the basic ability to read as well as the literacy necessary to proceed to the next level of schooling. There are many reasons for this. A key obstacle to learning to read is the shortage of appropriate stories for early reading in languages familiar to the young African child. There are few or no picture books for young children, and very little material of any kind in the 'familiar' languages of most African children. Since young Africans have very little to read in familiar languages, they often do not learn to read well or enjoy reading. This in turn means that there is not a market for African language books and publishers cannot afford to produce many such books. So young Africans end up with very little to read and the cycle continues.
Our vision is for all African children to have enough stories in a language familiar to them to practise reading and learn to love reading. We believe that literacy practices on the continent can be transformed by providing sufficient enjoyable stories in a familiar language, and encouraging caregivers and teachers to read them with children. But we cannot possibly create sufficient stories in the thousands of languages spoken on the African continent unless we share the stories we have, and enable users to translate/version stories into their own languages. Read more.
A dedicated African Storybook website was launched in June 2014 where you will be able to:
- find enjoyable stories for children to read,
- translate them into a local language or dialect,
- adapt the stories for the reading level you need,
- create your own stories in one of the templates provided,
- upload them onto the website for others to engage with and use,
- download and print the stories or read them on a variety of devices.
The May 2014 update contains the following articles:
- New Staff.
- Steering Committee.
- Learning from Conferences.
- Key Issues from the Basic Education Conference.
- Story Development in Kenya.
- Supporting the Pilot Sites in Uganda.