These past few months have been incredibly challenging for everyone around the world, especially for our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. Schools remain closed, leaving millions of students to continue their education from home. And to add to the problem, many families in Guatemala’s rural villages live without access to the internet, making online learning nearly impossible. 

Now, this may sound discouraging to some, but our dedicated team of Spark Reading Program teachers didn’t let this get in their way of providing a safe and quality education to their students. They sprang into action and let this challenging situation spark their creativity.

When Augusto, a Spark teacher at an elementary school in Paley, heard the news that schools were closing in Guatemala, he decided that he had to do something. He couldn’t let his students be deprived of reading opportunities at such a critical stage in their learning experience. 

He quickly worked with the GLP’s staff to create a plan to personally deliver books to his students’ homes. Augusto even took it upon himself to produce a series of reading and activity guides, specific to each book he was distributing, for his students to work on from home! 

One of Augusto’s students holding a book and study guide that was delivered to her home.

He even took the extra steps to cover the books in paper and implement a “rest” period between exchanging the books from one family to another to ensure the safety of his students.

The students were so happy and thankful that they could continue to learn and expand their knowledge during this time thanks to the creativity and passion of teachers like Augusto.

After hearing Augusto’s story, other Spark teachers in the region started implementing similar initiatives in their own communities! With the wide-spread adoption of passing books around from home to home, the GLP’s Spark team created a simple book-care and health prevention guide for teachers and families to reference while sharing books.

With so many new practices and creative ideas floating around, we knew that we had to share them with all of our Spark teachers. During a normal school year, teachers would gather for training sessions to learn best practices and hear stories like Augusto’s, but with social-distancing guidelines, our team knew it wouldn’t be possible to train our teachers in-person this year. 

So in late June, our Spark team of dynamic trainers quickly pivoted to begin training the teachers in the program online via Zoom!

A screenshot from one of the Spark teacher training sessions on Zoom. One of our Spark trainers highlights what Augusto has been doing in his community during the pandemic for other teachers to learn from.

Our Spark trainers used this time to share stories of how teachers had been distributing children’s books and study guides to student’s homes during the shut down in a safe way. The sessions also encouraged the Spark teachers to have their kids create “reading corners” in their own homes, a fun and creatively decorated space for them to get excited about reading in each day.

Even from home, our Spark Reading Program teachers are making a huge difference in their communities! 

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