Mvekero—it means “sound” in Chinyanja, one of Zambia’s many languages.
These days, Mvekero has become a popular word throughout the first grade classrooms of Mungu Basic School, where teachers, as part of their participation in Room to Read’s Reading & Writing Instruction program, are beginning to rethink the way they present foundational literacy concepts to their students—breaking down words into letters and sounds first. The new technique has already shown impressive results for several students, including Cascius, whose reading skills are among the best in his class.
Cascius and his family live in one of the nearby feeder villages for Mungu Basic, where 78 percent of families live in poverty. His parents, Humphrey and Astridah, are visibly proud of their son’s progress in school, and proudly mention to our team that he was one of six children chosen to represent his school at the zone literacy competition.
Beyond the official recognition though, Astridah and Humphrey say their son’s progress is most visible at home—where he often makes reference to the concepts he has learned in school.
“He’s conscious of how I pronounce my words and shows off his learning,” says Astridah, with a smile. “Almost every day, he corrects me either with the initial sound or the final sound of a word I say, and explains why.”
Based on the progress they have seen in their son’s reading ability, Cascius's parents say they are extremely pleased with the program now underway at Mungu Basic. Their other son, now in the third grade, has consistently struggled with reading and writing, but he too has seen improvement through regular practice with his younger brother.
Cascius’s love of reading and writing has even earned him a nickname around the house, says his mother. “We all fondly call him Mvekero now!”
Learn more about our work in Zambia.