Here is another Q & A session between the interviewer and our troop of teachers who spent time in Zambia last summer.
Q. What piece do you feel is A to Z Literacy Movement’s most important work? Why?
Kalan Gott: The most important work A to Z does is planting the seeds for a literacy culture. A to Z works to share tools with groups so they can foster a reading culture and be catalysts in their own communities. It isn’t about A to Z being the heroes. It is about the people of the community being their own heroes with A to Z as a sidekick. This is important because it means the change will last after A to Z leaves.
Anastasia Gruper: That’s a tough one to answer. A to Z has so many goals, which are all very important. However, the main goal to increase literacy in impoverished areas is the most important. Without independent thought and original ideas, a society cannot sustain or grow. Thoughts and ideas are only created and shared through literacy; reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Ann Yanchura: While it would be difficult to argue that the many books that A to Z puts into children’s hands is the most important work they do, I would like to propose that this would not be as effective without the time, effort and care we put into building the professional practice of the teachers who work with these children. In my own “day job,” I have seen firsthand the need to build the confidence and instructional expertise of our teachers who are charged with the daunting task of preparing our students for a global society. All of the pressures and frustrations that go along with this responsibility are impossible to manage on your own. Each A to Z volunteer, under Mal’s thoughtful direction, serves as a guide on the side as well as a professional friend who will work through the tough spots with you and help you to gain confidence in yourself as you take steps towards growing as a teacher. It’s this “professional friendship” that will build the skilled and enthusiastic teachers who will help children get the most out of the books they have received from the A to Z Movement.