The Aga Khan Schools in Kenya

Building Confidence, Creativity and Connection through World Read Aloud Day

01 March 2021

On 3 February, the Aga Khan Nursery School, Mombasa (AKNSM), joined millions of students across the globe to celebrate “World Read Aloud Day”.

Building Confidence, Creativity and Connection through World Read Aloud Day Building Confidence, Creativity and Connection through World Read Aloud Day Building Confidence, Creativity and Connection through World Read Aloud Day
Founded by LitWorld in 2010, the event promotes the power of reading aloud to advocate literacy as a foundational human right, amplify new stories and foster a sense of community. The teachers and staff at AKNSM, who are huge supporters of World Read Aloud Day, have researched and developed strategies to support students with their literacy skills. The teachers have found that reading aloud not only helps develop literacy skills, it ignites imaginations, builds confidence, creativity and connection. In parallel, reading aloud also improves oracy, enhances vocabulary and expands an individual’s worldview as they become aware of the experiences of others, which in turn, may influence their future pathways. 

This year, the World Read Aloud theme explored why reading is so critical in the midst of a pandemic. With this in mind, the teachers prepared a special day that maintained the ethos behind the event at the core in the safest way possible. Excitement was in the air as the students arrived at school. Given the requirement to socially distance, some of the students brought their favourite toy to read with; some decided to listen to stories online, whilst others borrowed books from the library and read their stories loudly. Those students that are learning remotely also had the opportunity to join in and hear their teachers tell stories online. After reading and hearing a number of stories, the students were able to bring their imagination to life, as they drew or painted their favourite characters, showcased the part they enjoyed most in the story or enthusiastically depicted an alternative ending to the story they heard. 

The day concluded with reflection time. Students shared their work and their own poems which sparked discussion about their own experiences of the pandemic. The entire day was a celebration that enabled students to feel comfortable, connected and joyful as they exchanged their stories with one another.

Given the transformative nature of reading, the teachers encourage parents to read aloud at home, as a way of developing the creativity and curiosity of their young children. One parent, remarked: “Every time you read with your child, there is a learning opportunity awaiting within the pages.” Her five-year-old daughter, heart-warmingly said: “I like it when my mummy reads to me because she has a nice voice, and we cuddle up with my teddy bear.”

Photos (top to bottom):

- Students found their own comfortable and socially distanced spot in the playground to read aloud.
- Young students recreated their favourite characters and conducted role plays from the stories they heard.
- Students listening to online stories.
- At the end of the day, the students confidently shared their artwork and learnings during reflection time.