Photo from the second week of the Reading Eggs launch in Mathare. The kids were excited and responded well to the new approach.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”  Do you recognize one of the greatest opening lines from this popular book? Learning to read opens up doors into a whole new world, and not just a hobbit one. Reading sets the foundation for a child’s future. Provided a child receives regular instruction, has reading resources available to them, and doesn’t have a learning disability, most kids will learn to read. 

Readers Reap the Reward of Opportunity

All three of my children have learned to read with relatively little problem. And I don’t take this lightly. I’m so thankful that none of them looks to the future with dread. As readers, they can do anything. My oldest secured a desirable job in the Air Force because, among other reasons, he scored high on his aptitude test—because he can read. My daughter will attend a private university secured by a generous academic scholarship because she achieved academic success in high school—because she can read. And my youngest, well, he’s only ten, so time will tell what his future holds. But because he can read, I already know that he will have options too. 

Growing Readers in Slums is a Challenge

However, for children living in communities plagued by extreme poverty, their education experience looks quite different than my kids. At the Mathare Community Outreach (MCO) Schools in Kenya, for example, where the children who live in the Mathare slums attend, educators must work against all odds to teach children to read. Attendance is irregular, students feel distracted by hunger pangs and find it nearly impossible to stay focused, and there’s a limited supply of books and resources. These obstacles often prevent students from learning to read. 

The children in Mathare need Hope for a better tomorrow. They need to learn to read, but with the odds stacked against them, it’s an uphill battle for teachers and students alike. 

“Reading Eggs” and Tablets for Students

That’s why all of us at Bright Hope are so excited about providing the “Reading Eggs” learning app to MCO students. Last year, for roughly $50 per student, we provided tablets, internet service, electricity, and subscriptions to the “Reading Eggs” app for a year. Teachers reported much more engagement given the variety of reading materials, activities, and the app’s motivational badge collection reward system. We want to offer more students the opportunity but will need funding to purchase additional tablets and app subscriptions. (Maybe you’d like to help?) 

 To further support these students, we are hosting a spring literacy camp. For only $10, one student can attend the literacy camp where he or she will receive literacy training via the “Reading Egg” curriculum and meals—food for the stomach and mind. 

Give Hope to the Students in Mathare

If one of my own children struggled to read, I would do whatever it took to help him. I’d get him tested, take him to a tutor, purchase any resource that I thought might help. Parents living in the Mathare slums feel the same but lack the resources to get their children the help they need. But I can help them, and maybe you can too. 

Please consider giving to help a child in Mathare secure Hope and a bright future—because they can read. I’ll go first. I clicked on this link and donated to help a child from the MCO school learn to read. Will you? 

Read what others are saying about “learning poverty.”

Ending Learning Poverty: the call of our times

Almost all 10-year-olds in world’s poorest countries struggle to read

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