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The Making of a Reading Society: Developing a Culture of Reading in Rwanda
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Following a growing concern among education stakeholders about the lack of a reading culture and low literacy levels among Rwandans in general and university students in particular, the aim of this thesis is to increase the awareness of Rwandans about the development of a reading culture and early literacy. To achieve this aim, four studies with participants representing different experiences related to reading culture were performed. These qualitative studies draw on different perspectives on the development of a reading culture and emergent literacy by using open-ended questionnaires and interviews. The thesis takes sociocultural and emergent literacy theories as points of departure.

The first study investigates students’ reflections on their previous reading experiences, and discuss ways to develop literacy and a reading culture in Rwanda. The next one sheds light on parents’ involvement in literacy practices at home and the third study concerns what literacy knowledge teachers expect from their pupils when they start nursery and lower primary school. An example of a literacy event (storytelling) is given in the fourth study where children’s narratives of fairy tales are followed by their discussions on gender issues, which in turn can develop the children’s interest in reading. This can also help them relate texts to their life and teach them to think critically.

In sum, the studies show that there is a limited reading culture in Rwanda. That is attributed to the colonial and post-colonial education system, reliance on verbal communication, limited access to reading materials, and ultimately the low status of the mother tongue Kinyarwanda within the sociolinguistic configuration of Rwanda. Also, the participating students and teachers point out the necessity of involving parents more in the creation of an environment that nurtures children’s emergent literacy development so that it becomes a shared responsibility translated into a teacherparent partnership for children’s success at school. Hence, the findings inform the use of this thesis which is to promote literacy and a reading culture in Rwanda by engaging the whole nation in a national effort to build a sustainable culture of reading. To paraphrase the old African saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, I want to conclude by saying that it takes a nation to develop a culture of reading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 76 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 165
Keyword [en]
Reading culture, oral tradition, emergent literacy, Rwanda, students’ literacy experiences, responsibility for early literacy, children’s literature
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81016ISBN: 978-91-7519-840-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-81016DiVA: diva2:549886
Public defence
2012-09-28, I, 101 house I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2013-05-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Enhancing the Culture of Reading in Rwanda: Reflections by Students in Tertiary Institutions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhancing the Culture of Reading in Rwanda: Reflections by Students in Tertiary Institutions
2012 (English)In: Journal of Pan African Studies, ISSN 0888-6601, E-ISSN 1942-6569, Vol. 5, no 1, 36-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following a growing concern about the lack of a reading culture among Rwandans in general and university students in particular, this study investigates students’ reflections on their previous reading experiences and discusses ways to develop literacy and a reading culture in Rwanda. It is widely known that the cultivation of a reading culture among the youth in tertiary institutions not only boosts their academic excellence, but it also contributes to their country’s growth prospects. This study based on students from one university answers the following research question: What do students claim are the reasons for a poor reading culture in Rwanda? The data was collected via an open questionnaire. Major findings indicate that the lack of a reading culture is attributed to the colonial and post-colonial education system, reliance on verbal communication, limited access to reading materials, and ultimately the mother tongue status of Kinyarwanda, within the sociolinguistic configuration of Rwanda.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Phoenix Arizona: , 2012
Keyword
reading culture, oral tradition, language of insturction, adult literacy, functional literacy
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78123 (URN)
Available from: 2012-06-07 Created: 2012-06-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring home literacy practices among Rwandan families
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring home literacy practices among Rwandan families
2011 (English)In: International journal of research in education, ISSN 2227-166X, Vol. 3, no 1, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This study reports on home literacy practices of 24 Rwandan rural and urban families with children attending both nursery and primary schools. The poor home literacy environment prevailing in Rwandan families is reportedly said to obstruct early literacy and subsequent acquisition of a reading culture. Research provides evidence that a rich home literacy environment plays a vital role in nurturing early literacy skills and impacts later reading achievement and intellectual self-fulfilment of the children. The purpose of this study is to explore literacy activities that are taking place in Rwandan homes and to raise parents’ awareness with regard to conducive home literate behaviours to display. Voluntary families in selected areas were invited to respond to a questionnaire and participate in an interview about home literacy practices in their respective families. The data obtained indicate that generally home literacy practices are not abundant in most family settings. There are also low levels of parental engagement with home literacy activities with their children due to lack of information of its importance, and lack of knowledge, means, and time to set up a rich home literacy environment. However, all the participants were excited about learning more of home literacy practices and suggested that sensitizations on the best practices to augment and enrich home literacy settings be done among all Rwandan families.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Research Society, 2011
Keyword
Home literacy practices, literacy environment, literacy skills, literate behaviour
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78149 (URN)
Projects
NURLI-projektet
Available from: 2012-06-07 Created: 2012-06-07 Last updated: 2016-04-29
3. Teachers’ Reflections on Parental Involvement in Emergent Literacy Development in Rwanda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers’ Reflections on Parental Involvement in Emergent Literacy Development in Rwanda
2012 (English)In: Cultures ofEducational Policy: International Issues of Policy-outcome Relationships / [ed] Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick, Strasbourg, France: Analytrics , 2012Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study examines the reflections of teachers in nursery and lower primary schools on parental involvement in emergent literacy with the overarching aim to gain knowledge on developing children’s emergent literacy in Rwanda and other countries with similar challenges. It is indeed only of recent that early childhood education policies which acknowledge emergent literacy and prioritize nursery education have been introduced in the Rwandan education system. Qualitative data were collected via an open ended questionnaire and in-depth interviews involving 24 participants, including 13 teachers of nursery schools and 11 teachers of lower primary schools from both urban and rural settings. The findings indicate that teachers in nursery and lower primary schools generally emphasize the necessity of involving the parents more in the creation of a conducive environment that nurtures the children’s emergent literacy. At the same time, the study suggests that the emergent literacy development is a shared responsibility translated into a teacher-parent partnership for children’s success at school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Strasbourg, France: Analytrics, 2012
Keyword
Parental involvement; emergent literacy; nursery school; lower primary school; early childhood education
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81015 (URN)
Note

Chapter accepted for publishing in above forthcomming book.

Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2013-02-01Bibliographically approved
4. Children’s Reflections on Gender Equality in Fairy Tales: A Rwanda Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children’s Reflections on Gender Equality in Fairy Tales: A Rwanda Case Study
2012 (English)In: Journal of Pan African Studies, ISSN 0888-6601, E-ISSN 1942-6569, Vol. 4, no 9, 85-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to investigate how educational use of Rwandan children’s literature, mainly fairy tales, can challenge traditional gender roles in Rwandan education. Indeed, researchers in and authors of children’s literature argue that the manner in which gender is represented in children’s literature impacts children’s attitudes and perceptions of gender-appropriate behaviour in society. In this respect, contents with gender stereotypes can offer children a privileged opportunity, given appropriate educational intervention to re-examine their gender belief and assumptions, leading them to adopt more egalitarian attitudes. Children’s reflections on gender in a fairy tale of Ndabaga, a female protagonist portrayed in non-traditional gender roles are analysed. The plot and characters were discussed in gendered groups of children (aged 10-12) from one rural and the other from urban primary schools following guiding questions. The findings show that children of both sexes reacted positively to the female character, portrayed in male roles, which has been traditionally unacceptable. All children expressed positive attitudes toward a change of traditional gender roles as the latter obstructs full realisation of females’ rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Phoenix Arizona: , 2012
Keyword
children’s reflections, children’s literature, fairy tales, gender roles, egalitarian attitudes
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78132 (URN)
Projects
NURLI-projektet
Available from: 2012-06-07 Created: 2012-06-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07

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Ruterana, Pierre Canisius

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