Improving learners’ literacy competencies in early years education through children’s storybooks
Keywords:Competency, Competency based Curriculum, Literacy, Children’s Storybooks, Early years education
Since independence, the Government of Kenya recognizes the value of education as a one of the fundamental factors of development. This is because education raises people’s creativity productivity and plays a critical role in securing social and economic progress. In this regard, the government has not only made basic education mandatory (Basic Education Act, 2013) but has also performed remarkably well in increasing primary school gross enrolment. Additionally, in order to ensure that children are taught “the right skills”, the Government, through the Ministry of Education, together with other stakeholders rolled out the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) in order to increase access to quality reading instruction in schools. Despite all these efforts, low literacy is a problem that is not only prevalent but continues to plague Kenya today. Children from rural and informal settlements in urban areas are particularly at risk for below-average literacy skills due to a lack of age-appropriate literary resources, low rates of caregiver literacy, and low levels of teacher support. Borne out of the concern to improve literacy levels among children in early years education, this article examines ways in which children’s storybooks can be used as an intervention to improve learners’ capabilities. Drawing from lessons learnt from reading sessions conducted among grade three learners in selected schools in Machakos Township sub-county during fieldwork, the article presents various strategies that could be deployed to make reading sessions interesting, memorable and engaging to all the learners regardless of their reading abilities. Thus, the article shows how children’s storybooks foster fundamental skills in reading that are necessary for improving oral reading fluency and comprehension among learners in early years education.
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