Update from Cotacachi, Ecuador

Changing a non-reading culture, update
Cotacachi, Ecuador
Report by Vicky Allen (Freelance Educator)

I can’t believe it has been almost three years since our Extensive Reading program started at Fundación Uno a Uno, thanks to the financial help of the Extensive Reading Foundation and their donors and the enthusiastic backing of the foundation’s directors, Pierre Etienne Banville and Candace Cho Banville, along with the curriculum director, Suzanne Prenger!

So much has happened since that time. As stated in my preliminary report, we had huge successes once the program became functional. The students involved were still making progress by leaps and bounds and, if you asked them, reading in English was a joy for them, making it possible to travel to different places and times and meet new people without leaving their home town, all through the books they were reading.

It was fun to see the different preferences in genres by the students. One of my very proper indigenous students loved not just scary stories but horror stories. Others loved the romance books while still others got lost in the mystery stories. Through Extensive Reading the students were not forced to read books chosen by the teacher or dictated by the curriculum book. They were selecting for themselves!
The struggle with the program was in getting other teachers to buy into the Extensive Reading philosophy and that was very difficult and soon became impossible. This frustrated me greatly until I realized that those teachers were still using the books and the tablets purchased through the grant. Their students weren’t reading extensively but they were reading. Through this grant, books were in the hands of even the youngest students and all of this in basically a non-reading culture.  See the full report here.

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