OvidiuRo’s (OvR) traveling Read-Aloud events were first sponsored by Carrefour Foundation in the summer of 2016. As of summer 2018, over 26,400 children in 38 counties have participated in these one-day events. They proved so popular – with teachers, children, parents and even mayors that OvidiuRo has made these one-day events an integral part of its methodology.
Primary Objectives of the Read Aloud caravans:
1. To raise awareness of the importance of daily reading to children, and
2. To educate parents and children on the elements of a healthy diet.
How it works: Preschool age children, whether enrolled or not, are invited, along with their parents, to attend a read aloud session at the local kindergarten. Afterward they get a book of their own to take home, in which the teacher writes their name. The Carrefour theme is about nutrition and healthy foods and uses picture books originally published in English, that OvidiuRo personalizes for Romanian children (with Reading Aloud Rules or This book belongs to…).
Read-aloud caravans are an opportunity to:
- Demonstrate good read-aloud techniques to teachers & parents, while increasing children’s exposure to new vocabulary and the world of books.
- Give a book to take home to every child participating in the activity.
- Leave quality educational materials in each kindergarten visited.
- Involve teachers in trainings & workshops focused on child-centered and literacy development teaching methods. Inform parents of the importance of kindergarten and help the school staff register children
- Investigate the reach of the Fiecare Copil in Gradinita (FCG) program in the community.
- Strengthen the partnership between OvR and county authorities (with focus on school inspectorates) by sharing the findings in the field and and discuss options for addressing any problems that come to light.
“The popularity of the reading caravans demonstrates how hungry children in poor communities are for picture books! Most of these kids had never seen a picture book before and they were fascinated – and loved being read to. Even the older kids loved it.” Leslie Hawke, OvidiuRo Cofounder.
“Every Child Deserves a Story” February-June 2018 Caravan powered by Carrefour
This traveling educational unit, implemented in partnership with county school inspectorates, and continued in the vein of the 2017 Pofta de Carte Caravan, encouraged teachers in disadvantaged kindergartens to increase their focus on literacy development and on healthy eating, providing a variety of easy-to-implement activities. In total, 1,400 children in rural communities participated in a 2-hour reading aloud activities together with their parents. Each child got a book to take home – for many of them, their first book ever. Counties involved: Covasna, Brasov, Dolj, Maramures, Prahova, Vrancea, Iasi, Alba, Botosani, and Suceava. For more details, see Press Release section.
“Pofta de Carte” (Eating Up the Alphabet) Caravan, September 2016 – June 2017
Carrefour’s children’s literature & healthy food choices project:
- Introduced 10,000 preschoolers in poor communities to the joy of reading—holding interactive read-aloud sessions and leaving books and educational materials in their kindergartens.
- Encouraged healthier food choices in poor families and in kindergartens – incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables donated by Carrefour into the lessons.
- Trained 700 teachers in child-centered teaching methods, preparing them to lead Sotron summer programs, and providing creative, high-quality educational kits.
- Created opportunities for positive teacher-parent interactions – Parents were invited to kindergarten, and participated in read-aloud and healthy eating sessions.
- Adapted and printed three children’s books originally published in English: 1. Eating up the Alphabet, 2.Up, Down and Around, and 3. Walking through the Jungle).
- Supported the implementation of the Fiecare Copil in Gradinita Law, meeting with over 1000 local team representatives and 250 county authorities.
First Summer Caravan
OvidiuRo and Carrefour launched the first Read Aloud Caravan in July, 2016, providing educational enrichment for rural children, informing poor parents about the Fiecare Copil in Gradinita national program and the importance of early education and meeting with the local teams and county authorities.
The OvR team:
- Went door-to-door with the local social workers and invited children and parents to the kindergarten for a “Read Aloud” session.
- Held Interactive Read-Aloud Sessions in kindergarten: preschoolers – registered or not – were invited with their parents to attend. OvidiuRo team read from “Big Books” and engaged children in discussions about the stories.
- Gave each child “My first book to take home” – La Gradinita (In Kindergarten), writing each child’s name on the first page.
- Promoted healthy eating among children and their parents (and teachers, as well), giving a banana to each child (and encouraging them to dispose of the peal in a trash can, not on the ground).
- Informed parents of the importance of kindergarten, providing more details about Law 248/2015 and encouraging them to register their kids for kindergarten and apply for the FCG program.
- Donated big books and educational materials to each kindergarten.
- Met with the local team – mayor, school principal, social worker, etc., to review procedures and discuss potential problems in their community.
- Reported to the county authorities on the week’s findings each Friday.
Caravans in the spotlight
Read the full article on Nine O’Clock
TVR Iasi, 9 August 2016 – News about the Iasi Caravan and the FCG program.
‘We have 24 children registered for the next school year, while another 35 cannot be registered because we don’t have enough space, for a second classroom. And I am very sorry for that, because at 5 years old, when we can register them, it’s a little bit too late – a year is not enough for them to catch up what they should have learned in three.’ Iasi kindergarten teacher (link HERE).
EuroTVR Bacau, 4 August, 2016
‘Did you see how many parents came here today and brought their papers? They want their kids to be in preschool! And once they go through preschool, they are better able to handle the work in the first grade’. Leslie Hawke, Cofounder OvidiuRo (link HERE).
Digi24, October, 2016
TVR Iasi, May, 2017 – link HERE