Phonics brings Ugandan and South Sudanese pupils together

Using phonics as a method of teaching helps improving the reading and writing skills of children. ZOA, together with local partner PALM Corps, implements the HOPE project, which aims to improve learning outcomes.

Kids singing together, practising letters and words. School classes in 17 schools in Uganda have changed since ZOA started a project introducing phonics. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes (sounds) that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read and to spell words. ZOA, together with local partner PALM Corps, implements the HOPE (Harvest Opportunities for Pupils in Emergencies) project. Overall objective is improved learning outcomes. Global evidence shows that phonics is one of the most effective way to teach reading (and finally writing) of children and can transform children’s literacy levels significantly.

Milou de Bruijne, ZOA Uganda: „We implement in 17 schools in both Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement and Imvepi Refugee Settlement. As part of our project, we invested in Early Grad Reading by training teachers on phonics and on how to teach phonics in class. We provided slates to pupils to practice with.“ Teacher Juliet Eyotaru is happy: “Through phonics, the children are now able to read and do everything together. Sudanese together with Ugandans.”

After the project assignment 20 primary school teachers, received a three-day training in phonics. Teachers were taught 44 phonemes (sounds) and almost 100 graphemes (ways of writing the sounds). Fundamental principles of blending (sounding and reading), non-decodable words and teaching a phonics lesson (revision, teaching new sounds, reading activities, writing, revision, etc.) were explained. Teachers are advised to teach phonics as a separate subject, so they can go systematically through the sounds. A big emphasis was placed on allowing children to sound and read without help from the teacher and trying not to have children repeat after the teacher, but to sound and read themselves.

HOPE Project

This project is implemented with funding from Education Cannot Wait and through the Uganda Education Consortium. Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises to ensure that every crisis-affected child and young person is in school and learning. The Uganda Education Consortium is a coalition made up of non-governmental organisations and UN agencies to support the implementation of the Education Response Plan through a harmonised and collaborative approach. The Education Consortium Management Unit is hosted by Save the Children.