We started our week far from Bucharest, on what might have been the last sunny day this year. The landscapes were stunning and we traveled with Dacia Sandero, a car provided by our partners. This day with coppery leaves made our November unforgettable and gave us sweet memories. Ms. Maria Simona Spanache and Mr. Norbert Nolte shared with us the fact that they really wish the kids from Grivița, Galați were a part of the national reading program ‘Childhood Classics’. With their support we went there to give the kids books and also give them tips and tricks on how they can read in a way that activates their imagination.
Unfortunately, the village doesn’t have a heated cultural center where we could all have met or where the kids can enjoy cultural events dedicated to them. So the little ones were only able to fit in a warm classroom, nicely personalized with their drawings.
Valentina Popa, actress with ‘Teatrul Mic’ in Bucharest, joined us there. She told the kids about Ulysses’ adventures, read and recreated with them part of his trips in ‘The Odyssey’. Some kids even bragged about how they can read all 200 pages of ‘The Three Musketeers’ in only one day, others told us that they can only read capital letters and that at home they mostly have colouring books. From the school teachers we found out that many of the parents don’t necessary encourage reading, they don’t even read together with their kids. We figured this aspect ourselves when a girl – not a very young one – was very enthusiastic and wanted to read us a fragment. With accuracy and confidence she read carefully all the words on the page, but in a very segmented way, without connecting the sentences. We asked her to tell us the main idea of what she read but she dodged the answer, sign that she read the text mechanically. These are the first signs that lead to functional illiteracy, when kids read a text but don’t actually understand what they’ve read, because grown-ups around weren’t there to show them how to read and how to ask questions. These are signs that show the fact that a kid perceives reading as an obligation from those around him who ask if he has finished the book and not what he understood after reading it.
Some parts of the event were recorded by our friends from Digi24, who are now working on a broader material on the topic of access to books in our country, especially in undepriviliged areas. Here you can find the first part of this material, in which Ms. Iren Arsene Mate, president and founder of The Curtea Veche Association, tells about the situation in the Romanian villages.
We left Grivița with autumn flowers in our hands, the kids smiles in our hearts and we are glad that now, the kids who only had colouring books at home, now have new and illustrated books that they can read in silence. This event was possible thanks to Ms. Simona Spanche and Mr. Norbert Nolte, to which the Principal, Ms. Constandache Loredana sent a message: “We wish to thank you for your generosity and we are glad to have been selected for this donation, especially because we are a school with poor kids who have a lot of love for books. It was an amazing event for them, and it made them very happy.”
You can find more images of the event here.