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July 2014 News

Bags of books teaching children to read

  • Written by  Ian Anderson
Children in the highlands of PNG are learning to read thanks to books provided by Allan and Cecilia Anderson. Photo: Provided

Local residents Allan and Cecilia Anderson, from Hodgson Vale Community Church, have discovered a simple but effective way to lift literacy levels in Papua New Guinea.

For the past four years, they have been taking backpacks full of books to remote villages in PNG.

“For the bush schools in the Southern Highlands, there is no access to commercially produced reading materials,” said Cecilia. “Largely there is no electricity or internet, so children have never really seen pictures of the things that we take for granted, like elephants, giraffes, and places of interest around the world.”

By providing a backpack of 30 books, children have access to quality reading books with accurate spelling and grammar.

Each time the couple return to villages and run workshops, they see a marked improvement in the English of both teachers and students.

“It is because of the workshops that you have given to us that the children are speaking English so well” Pili, a Year 2 teacher at Yetamali Elementary school, told Cecilia.

Cecilia said the backpacks allow the teachers to take the books home easily for security and preservation as most classrooms cannot be locked.

“Over 18 weeks, children get access to 90 quality reading books, as opposed to none at present,” she said.

The Anderson’s would appreciate any contribution to the cost of a backpack that will raise the level of literacy, which potentially protects children against false teaching and the danger of being exploited.

Contact Allan and Cecilia on 0429 09 6959 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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