More about the African Storybook project and the free online course starting on 15th April. Please join us…

The African Storybook Project is really something to get excited about. We have written a number of blogposts about this exciting venture on this blog:

Introducing The African Storybook Project
b)  30 days of Writing #1: Welcome to the African Storybook project
c)  An exciting, free digital storytelling course and writing opportunity for South African 
educators. Please sign up

The ‘Digital Storytelling and the African Storybook project’ short online course for teachers

The African Storybook Team has asked SchoolNet to create and run a free short online digital storytelling course for teachers around the country starting on 15th April. This course is open to any educators who want to improve their own writing skills and perhaps discover the writer within them! It is hope that they will donate the story they write during the course to the website, and that they will encourage their learners to write a story suitable for a Grade 3 reader. This means the writers could be foundation phase, intermediate phase or high school students – even tertiary students who would like to help the children of Africa with reading material. There is a great prize for a teacher from the school that submits the most useable stories for the website. There is more about this course and the incentive on our Free online courses page on this blog – we invite you to sign up here.  It starts on 15th April.

Caption taken from Vodacom’s Digital Classroom portal

Now to add some background to this project and also add the brochure about it as an e-book…

What is the African Stoybook project again?

The African Storybook Project (ASP) is a project that will create and encourage the use of a digital library of stories for the first few years of reading in digital formats, openly licensed, with a process and tools for translating and versioning stories for local African languages and contexts. These will be shared on a website which is in the process of being created.This will enable users to upload and share versions of the stories in their local languages, providing numbers of stories in a range of languages way beyond the scope of conventional publishing.

Taken from the African Storybook Project brochure

How will the African Storybook Project help to meet the literacy needs of children aged 2-9 years old in Africa?

The African Storybook Project will facilitate availability, access to, and use of sufficient good stories for early reading practice for African children ages 2 to 9. It will do this by setting up an interactive website with stories for early reading and by encouraging educators and literacy development organisations working in early literacy of young children in African countries:

  • to access openly licensed digital reading resources of various levels and types on the site
  • to translate and/or adapt the stories into a familiar language and context for the children they work with
  • to create their own stories and upload them in the templates provided,
  • to contribute already published stories and make them available under an open licence, and 
  • to use them in a variety of ways for literacy development.

The project will initially operate mainly in the pilot countries (Kenya, Uganda and South Africa) in schools, community libraries/reading clubs, early childhood and family literacy settings.

The main advantage of openly licensed stories on a website will be that educators and parents who want stories in their own language or dialect can translate some or all of the text to suit their context, without having to ask permission or pay any fee. And the adapted version of the book will be available for reading and printing immediately.

What are ‘good stories’ in this context?

Taken from the African Storybook Project brochure

Good stories in this context:·

  • speak to children’s reality and contexts;
  • have rich visual images that make sense and can support the reading of the text; 
  • encourage interest in the sounds and shapes and meanings of words; 
  • have a story, a happening, an event or sequence of events, and characters with which children can identify;
  • can be scary: it’s OK to be frightened and take risks in a story. 

But above all, they need to leave children ‘panting for more’!

How will the African Storybook Project get their stories?

We will draw on African oral literature and traditions of storytelling, songs, riddles, rhymes, on high quality published stories that the copyright holders are willing to donate, on openly licensed material already available on the Web, and on stories developed through workshops and competitions specifically for the project. But our main intent is to encourage creation and adaptation by users themselves in the ‘easy to use’ templates we provide on the website.

We will develop partnerships with literacy development organisations across the continent (but particularly in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa) to use the stories and the website in their project, contributing both lessons of experience to improve the website, and stories or versions of stories.

The brochure

Here is the brochure for the African Storybook project presented as an e-book.

The African Storybook Project

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