Open Books, Open Minds
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 and in other developing countries with high-quality propietary curriculum in reading and writing instruction for children. We achieve this through comprehensive teacher training and professional development. The investment in the training and support of teachers has the power to change generations to come.
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?
Currently, we identify schools and communities throughout Guatemala that are interested in supplementing their current curriculum. We meet with the school administrators and teachers to establish a relationship and make sure they are committed to the program. This commitment is very important 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 and second graders for two hours, three times a week during their regular school 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 teachers in each school to offer quality instruction as well as the students to practice their reading with interesting texts at appropriate levels. We continue to grow and innovate with the feedback of our teachers and in-country staff. Our long term goal is to create the opportunity for our partner educators to take ownership of the program, providing the annual training and ongoing professional development sessions, so the program shifts to a completely teacher-owned effort. GLXi seeks to perfect the program model in Guatemala and use it as a platform for growth into other developing countries.
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. In more rural regions schools lack electricity or running water. Classroom sizes can be as large as 30 children to a teacher. 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