It’s that time of year again! Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) has wrapped up their annual Reading Challenge in Uganda. You might remember reading about this program last year. This year’s challenge launched on August 15th with the purpose of encouraging students to read at least 50 books (every 25 pages is counted as one book). Not only does this program focus on their reading skills, but the students complete writing activities along the way as well. Once the materials have been distributed and the rules announced, the students are given two months to read as many books as possible. The school librarian helps to ensure that everyone clearly comprehends each story by asking questions about the characters, plot, and theme as they return their borrowed books.

As the reading challenge comes to a close, AAH celebrates with a reading carnival! Here students are congratulated for their accomplishments while enjoying celebratory food and fun such as Scrabble, Bingo, Uno, Twister, capture the flag, charades, and dodgeball. Last, but not least, is the award ceremony. This year’s key note speaker was Bernard Osenda W’Osenda, an economics professor from a nearby town. He focused on encouraging the students to continue reading books which will improve their minds and their lives. Though everyone received a certificate stating the number of books they read, top readers were given special awards that included school supplies and an honorary seat in the front row that evening as the entire school watched the movie Mulan.

Bernard Osenda W'Osenda gives his speech encouraging students to continue reading.

Bernard Osenda W’Osenda gives his speech encouraging students to continue reading.

Time for fun and games during the celebratory carnival!

Time for fun and games during the celebratory carnival!

Two of our scholars were among the school’s top readers this year: Elizabeth “Bess” N. of P6 read 130 books, and Khadija K. of P3 read 120 books. Throughout these two months the students can be found reading everywhere from the playground to eating their meals with their head in a book at the same time. What makes them excited about this particular activity? Bess shares her reason with us:

Elizabeth "Bess" N. accepts her award.

Elizabeth “Bess” N. accepts her award.

“I read to know more about the world. I read to improve my English. I read because reading can make me feel happy. I read to be an important person in [the] future.”

In total, the entire school read 26,109 books! Congratulations to Bess, Khadija, and all of the incredibly driven students of AAH Uganda!