Read Aloud Caravans
“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.
OvidiuRo launched the first Read Aloud Caravan in 2016 to inform parents in disadvantaged communities about the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță national program, the importance of early education, and to meet with local teams and county authorities. Over 26,000 children in 38 counties have participated in these one-day events. They have proved so popular – with teachers, children, parents and even mayors – that OvidiuRo has made these one-day events an integral part of its methodology.
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, each gets a book of their own to take home, in which the teacher writes the child’s name. Read-aloud caravans are a wonderful 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;
- Observe the reach of the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță (FCG) program in the community; and
- Strengthen the partnership with county authorities by sharing the findings in the field and discussing options for addressing any problems that come to light.
The step-by-step procedure:
- Go door-to-door with the local social worker and invite children (registered or not) and parents to the kindergarten for a “Read Aloud” session;
- Hold Interactive Read-Aloud Sessions in the kindergarten, reading from “Big Books” and engaging children in a discussion about the stories;
- Give each child “My first book to take home” – writing each child’s name on the first page;
- Promote healthy eating, giving a banana to each child (and encouraging them to dispose of the peel in a trash can, not on the ground);
- Inform parents of the importance of kindergarten, providing more details about Law 248/2015 and encouraging them to register their children for kindergarten and apply for the FCG program;
- Donate big books and educational materials to each kindergarten; and
- Meet with the local team – mayor, school principal, social worker, etc., to review procedures and discuss potential obstacles to having 100% preschool enrollment in their community.
- Report to the county authorities on the week’s findings