10,000 disadvantaged children will receive their own picture books to take home and 1000 kindergarten teachers will get “Big Books”
Asociația OvidiuRo announces the start of the school-year long Read-Aloud Caravan “Pofta de carte”. The project is designed to raise awareness of the importance of reading aloud and also of a healthy nutrition for young children and benefits from the support of Carrefour România and Carrefour Foundation.
With support from county authorities, the Pofta de carte Caravan started in Argeș County which is home to over 3300 children who are eligible to benefit from the Fiecare Copil in Gradinta program. By the end of the year the Pofta de carte Caravan will reach children in all 41 counties. The project is a natural continuation of the Summer FCG Caravan which reached 99 rural communities in 15 counties.
“Last summer’s reading caravan really demonstrated how hungry children in poor communities are for picture books! Most of these kids had never seen a picture book before and they were fascinated – and loved being read to. Even the older kids loved it,” declared Leslie Hawke, OvidiuRo’s cofounder. “Picture books are not that common in most rural kindergartens so one of our goals is to model good read-aloud techniques to both teachers and parents – and to leave them with some high-quality picture books to use in their classes.
,,We are glad to continue our support for the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniţă program initiated by OvidiuRo and trasnformed in such a short time – with participation from private companies, national and local authorities and schools – into an efficient mechanism to fight the school abandonment phaenomenon taking flight in poor areas of Romania. This year we wish to bring the poor children and parents even closer to education and to promote two essential messages for their chance of a better life: the importance of reading aloung and the neccessity of a healthy nutrition’’, declared Andreea Mihai, Director de Marketing&Comunicare, PR&Solidaritate, Dinamică Comercială&Pricing Carrefour România.
How it works: Preschool age children, whether enrolled or not, are invited, along with their parents, to attend a read aloud session at the local kindergarten. Afterward they get a book of their own (“Să mâncăm multe culori”) to take home, which the teacher writes their name in. This year’s theme is about nutrition and healthy foods and uses a book, originally published in English, adapted by OvidiuRo for Romanian children.
Romania has the second highest rate of socio-economical inequality in the EU and this gap is reflected directly in children’s literacy scores: according to an ELINET country report, our country ranks 23rd (out of the 24 EU states participating in the 2011 PIRLS tests), with over 35% of fourth graders struggling with reading (and poor readers in primary school are at the highest risk of school abandonment).
A third of Romania’s children live in severe deprivation and have less than 10 books at home, the highest percentage in the EU 24, which means a lot of children never even see a book until they enter school. This results in the biggest literacy-score-gap in the EU between the poorest children and those in the top quartile. Coupled with one of the lowest adult literacy rates in Europe, this means that poor children’s chances to overcome the literacy gap lie in the hands of policies and projects that actively recruit and support the most marginalized children.
Carrefour also funded the FCG Summer Caravan, through which 6000 books were distributed to preschoolers and over 3,000 parents were taught about the importance of early education and reading aloud to their children. Poftă de Carte Caravan will bring children’s literature and tips on healthy food choices to over 10,000 children (and their parents) this school year.
 Gini index 34%
 Literacy in Romania. Country report, May 2015
 This percentage does not include children who are not yet in school or kindergarten (only one in three poor children have access to early education)).
 Children with less than 10 books at home score in PIRLS tests were 108 points lower than those of pupils in Romania with more than 200 books (whilst the mean score of Romanian pupils, 512 points, is the lowest in the EU24).