05 January 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Reaching towards Literacy

We haven’t been very good at putting quantitative metrics together to measure the success of PEPY’s programs. It’s hard to put a “number” on the impact of many of our programs, but these numbers are the first which have really shocked me.

Do you know how many books were checked out of the PEPY library last month?


Two thousand one hundred and eleven.

No, really……


Do you know what the number of books checked out per month one year ago was?


No really, seventy.

That is more than 30 times the number of books checked out from one year ago. What a change in one year!

Most kids take out a book nearly every night, or sometimes every other night. Almost every kid a recent questionnaire wrote that they wanted to be a “literacy teacher” or that their favorite hobby was “reading books to my sister” or “spending time in the library” – for the FIRST time ever. Before they always listed English Teacher as their dream job and computer classes as their favorite subject….

Our literacy program is coming to life. We just printed the first two in a series of PEPY early literacy books. We are helping other orgs to print theirs as well. And we have started laminating books the kids are writing in class.

A lot of this change is because of the Literacy Camp we offered last summer and the associated teacher training – more momentum has been added now because of the two PEPY Literacy Classes per hour offered (8 hours per day – so 16 classes!). Also, our librarians Srey Thou and her assistant, Khein Sak have made the library such a beautiful place to be making our library classes even more successful as well. Five teachers just went to an awesome early literacy training this past week and loved it.

Two years ago we would never have imagined this. When we painted a dingy classroom which had housed a rat-infested box of Room to Read books we hoped for a place where students would learn to read Khmer…… and now two years later, I think those wishes are working. Kids are READING books in the library. No one turns a head anymore when a foreign staff member comes to visit or when it’s time for school to end – they are too busy reading. Not just flipping through pages. Reading. It’s pretty amazing.

Thanks to many of you for helping to make this metamorphosis possible.