Ciudad del Niño, La Chorrera, Republic of Panama

[pink]2013 Little Reader update at Ciudad del Niño, La Chorrera, Republic of Panama.[/pink]

We received the Little Reader CD in the mail last week, thank you. This will make it much easier to install on more computers. I was unable to update the software to the new version of Little Reader this year as the internet was so intermittent. Hopefully just needing the internet now for the key will make it more straightforward.

I try to encourage use of LR as of course I know of the benefits. With now having the CD, I’m going to install the programme in 2 other houses where the boys are aged 5-8. I have gotten to know their house parents over the last 2 years so I hope that will encourage them to use it. In saying that the computers are never switched on when I’m there & not in the main room where the children do their homework. I don’t know how much of an effort the house parents will make to use LR in their daily routine.

At Ciudad del Niño in addition to the regular school homework, this year, the government is subsidising afterschool English workshops for about 40 of the boys… 2 hours a day, 4 days per week, after sitting in an extremely
hot classroom for 5 hours. The new English teachers are not great speakers & they find it difficult to converse with native English speakers. They have a closed mindset when it comes to anything new (particularly resource wise!)
that isn’t in the textbook that they happen to be following. Unfortunately it’s easy to see that the children, aged approximately 8 to 16, don’t understand much of what is being “taught”. I have tried to stress the benefits of having a short LR lesson at the beginning & end of each formal lesson but when I’ve gone back in, LR hasn’t advanced that far. When I personally go in & do the LR lessons with the children they obviously enjoy it, (even the older ones do, they are not put off by the baby imagery) and the teachers assure me that they love LR and will be using it much more regularly from now on…… I had hoped that it was a resource I would leave with the teachers/ house parents and they would carry it on from there, that hasn’t really happened.

We had a group of North American volunteers in July & they held English classes with different age groups & I’ve included some photos. At certain points they took over part of the time that was designated for the workshops and were much more effective! They showed flashcards to the little ones (no computer in the room, so no LR) & taught them action/ nursery rhymes. With the older ones they used LR with great success (the kids actually had fun & were laughing while learning, imagine!!!) & taught them some appropriate actions songs. You’ll see from the pictures that only 1 computer is really used despite an entire room of them so paper & pencil is still the way
things are done here.

I would love to have more positive news to report, I’m sorry I don’t. I think LR is a great tool & just wish everyone else thought so too! Thanks for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,
Lois Foreshew