‘When I grow up, I want to become a teacher’

Every day when Joynur wakes up, she washes her face and then reads a book.

Joynur did not have books to read outside of her textbooks when she first started primary school two years ago. “Since I had very few books, I could not read well,” says the 10-year-old girl, who lives in southern Bangladesh.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping primary school children like Joynur by installing “reading corners” in classrooms to provide access to books.

Mother and daughter standing on walkway, daughter holding book (USAID/Morgana Wingard)
“My mother helps me with my reading,” says Joynur, with her mother, Shahena. (USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Joynur’s mother, Shahena, never had the chance to continue her education after the 5th grade. Shahena’s father was very poor, and he couldn’t afford it. But Shahena says, “I studied a little, so I understand the value of education.”

There are few students in Bangladesh who can read at their grade level. Many who can read cannot comprehend. “As a result, they are losing interest in their studies,” says Nandakhali Primary School teacher Hasina.

The USAID program trains teachers to emphasize reading with comprehension.

Girl studying with book (USAID/Morgana Wingard)
(USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Since USAID set up a reading corner in Joynur’s classroom in 2014, she and her classmates have more engaging stories to read. “We all read books together,” says Joynur. In 2016, USAID helped improve the reading skills of nearly 389,000 Bangladeshi children.

Teacher leading lessons in front of class (USAID/Morgana Wingard)
(USAID/Morgana Wingard)

Hasina, Joynur’s teacher, is one of more than 3,000 teachers trained throughout Bangladesh in 2016 to use proven, successful teaching methods to improve comprehension.

Joynur admires her teacher. “When I grow up, I want to become a teacher,” she says proudly. She has started down that path by tutoring her siblings. “When I’m busy with my cooking, Joynur helps her younger brother and sister with their studies,” says Joynur’s mother.

A longer version of this story originally appeared on USAID’s website.