A teacher no more…

Whew…after two years living and working in Ethiopia, my time as a teacher has finally come to a close! Yesterday marked the end of my Reading Program at Adare and we celebrated with an award ceremony and cookies : )

Two students from each grade 7 & 8 class were named “Adare Star Readers” and were allowed to pick a chapter book – graciously donated by friends, family, and strangers – to bring home and continue their reading practice. Books chosen were classics like Matilda, The Magician’s Elephant, Bridge to Terabithia, and Peter Pan.

The joy on their faces was worth the struggle I sometimes went through keeping this program up and running over the last nine months. I just want to say thank you to everyone back home who helped support this program, the students will never forget it!

Adare Readers

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The power of reading


This past week marked the start of my new Reading Program at Adare Primary School. In the span of 4 days I taught 23 classes with a total of 1,368 students, grades 1-8. Each class was held in the library so that students who’ve never held a book of fiction before would get a chance to read for an hour.

The plan (hope) is to repeat this program once every month. Grades 1-6 got an introduction to literature. We read some books aloud and then I passed out books for them to read independently. In the coming months we’ll have more focused readings…a day for fairytales, nonfiction, poetry, etc.

Grades 7 and 8 will be participating in a reading challenge. Anyone remember the BOOK IT! Program sponsored by Pizza Hut? Rewarding reading with pizza? Genius. So with that in mind, students will come in every month and read as many books as they can (and then answer the critical thinking questions I created for each book!), and the student from each class (there are 10 grade 7 and 8 classes) who reads the most/answers the most questions correctly will win a goodie bag at the end of the semester.

Goodie bags will include school supplies (most of which I’ve already been able to collect), games, and books. And that’s where you can help. After all, ’tis the season to be generous : ) You can buy a cheap, used book and ship it to Ethiopia FOR FREE – that’s over 7,700 miles if you’re in Minnesota! (Though of course you can ship from anywhere!)

If you’d like to help Adare Primary School Students, here’s what you do:

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Books that shouldn’t be sent to Africa: Part 2

As you may have guessed, I finished going through the books at my school and figured I’d share a few more of the more memorable titles.


Once again…numerable romance novels. Check out the variety – one that takes place in Texas, another that occurs over the holiday season, and a good ol’ fashioned “men at work” one. Quality.


Did anyone know this was a book, FIRST?


Just what Ethiopian children need…learning about the different ways American children irritate their parents and reading material about marriage – we’re trying to prevent child marriages!


I know Ethiopian children everywhere were wondering, “What was Macaulay Culkin like as a child star?” But in all seriousness, this round of books contained a lot more child-friendly options.

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Read any good books lately?

It’s finals week at my school, which means my classroom has been appropriated and I’ve relocated to our library/copying center for tests/random room. I’ve decided to make the most of my time and dust/organize the books by reading level. Once I’ve finished, we can start moving the books into our recently built library.

It’s actually been a lot of fun going through shelf upon shelf of the randomest books people have thought to donate to Africa over the years. I thought I’d share some of the gems I’ve found so far with you…


No primary school needs this many romance novels in its collection. In fact, I’d go as far as saying they’d probably be just fine if they had a grand total of zero of these kinds of books.


If you think the cover of this book is priceless, get a look at the backside…


I’m not sure how I got through my teen years without this book.

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