Literacy offers a key to genuine transformation for individuals, communities and countries. It has been proven that children who read and write can create improved lives for themselves and their families. GLXi is committed to supporting the national literacy efforts in Guatemala with high-quality supplementary services in reading and writing instruction for children, teacher training and professional development.
Open Books, Open Minds is the name of our innovative literacy program. We know that opening a child’s mind, beginning with teaching them to read and write, will open them up to a world of possibility.
“GLXi is bringing a different way of learning to Guatemalan schools. We are teaching kids to think for themselves and to create opportunities for themselves.” Jose Bonilla, In-Country Coordinator
How do we do it?
We identify schools and communities throughout Guatemala that are interested in supplementing their current curriculum. We meet with the principals, teachers and parents to establish a relationship and make sure we have a commitment. This commitment is very important to us because it creates a partnership. We see a difference in the kind of space the school makes available to us, the students’ attendance record and the parents’ participation. This helps guarantee a child’s long-term success.
We teach Open Books, Open Minds to first, second and third graders for two hours after their regular school day, since most schools in Guatemala are only in session for a half-day. Our literacy curriculum is built upon research-based teaching practices, sophisticated technology, engaging children’s literature and a respect for the children’s own language in their stories. GLXi provides all the necessary materials to enable the literacy teacher hired in each school to offer quality instruction as well as the students to practice their reading with interesting texts at appropriate levels. We also establish relationships between our schools in Guatemala, as well as with classrooms in the United States, to create authentic audiences where students can share their stories and read the stories of other children.
What about our teachers?
They are awesome! Many of the teachers in Guatemala’s public schools have the equivalent of an elementary-level education and receive very little formal training in teaching. We know that a key element in improving education is to expand teacher capacity. We seek out qualified, committed local teachers and provide detailed training on how to teach Open Books, Open Minds. Ongoing professional development for the literacy teachers in the GLXi program expands their expertise in teaching and allows for continuous improvement. The professional development includes individualized onsite coaching and access to experts who can answer their questions and problem-solve with them if they encounter difficulties implementing the program.
What kinds of materials do they use to teach?
Most schools in Guatemala lack proper facilities and materials. Toilets don’t flush; windows are broken; classrooms are not cleaned; books and other resources are in short supply. In order for children to learn in this environment, we knew that we would have to provide books and teaching supplies. So, the GLXi program staff sourced the highest quality and most appropriate learning materials for the areas where we teach. We made sure that everything was age-appropriate; that it could withstand the elements and frequent use; and that it would put our students on the path to continued learning and future success.
The result is a “literacy kit” for each school. The kit includes the following:
- a projector that is connected to a laptop computer loaded with digital Spanish-language books for guided reading
- a laser pointer
- a collection of approximately 50 children’s books for independent reading
- 30 individual small dry-erase boards and erasable markers
- 30 blank composition books and pencils
- boxes of crayons for illustrations
- notecards for vocabulary words
- a teacher’s guide for the program
We also provide a rugged XO tablet.
It has a bright green, rubber-bound case and is loaded with digital books and educational games to help the children explore career paths. They can also use it to take pictures for use in their own stories. Where electricity is not available, a power pack is also provided.