The Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) works closely with the Ministry of Education and Sports to increase access to reading materials and promote a culture and habit of reading among children. BEQUAL is supporting the Ministry of Education and Sports to renew the primary curriculum, with a strong focus on helping children learn to read. Last year, revised textbooks and teacher guides for Grade 1 were tested in 26 primary classrooms across Laos. Teachers also received a set of story books, along with some ideas for interesting activities to engage children in the stories.
Some teachers were not used reading books to children in the classroom but were keen to learn how to use the story books to improve their teaching practice. At the end of the pilot, the teachers recognised the benefits of reading books to children and were happy to continue doing this.
Accessing good quality books in Lao to read to children, especially to young children, is difficult. BEQUAL and the Research Institute for Educational Sciences (REIS) carefully selected 40 story books that will be distributed to grade 1 classrooms when the revised Grade 1 curriculum is rolled out nationally.
“Story books are important to children and teachers. They are not only entertain children, but also stimulate their imagination and language, increase their knowledge, and give them moral guidance. Story books can also give children an idea of how to deal with problems when facing them.” said Mme Phannaly Thepphavongsa, one of the selected story book publishers.