| Jan 24, 2011
During First Lady Michelle Obama's "100,000 Strong Initiative" event at Howard University on January 19 to promote studying abroad in China, Obama quoted Nina Robinson, a Washington, DC, student who participated in the Reading Across Continents project, which was implemented by the International Reading Association.
In this project, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department, some students from the Schools Without Walls in Washington traveled to Nigeria and others traveled to Ghana for three weeks each. Later on in the program, a number of Nigerian and Ghanaian students participated in a cultural and educational exchange visit to Washington.
All participating students were required to read three novels, each set in one of the participating countries: Copper Sun by U.S. author Sharon M. Draper, Things Fall Apart by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, and The Girl Who Can by Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo. Students completed online coursework and corresponded with each other through teacher-motivated blogs about the novels and also discussed the novels with the authors during the exchange.
Teachers in both settings worked on the curriculum and developed a facilitator’s guide for use in Nigeria, Ghana, and D.C. and for use on future literature projects connecting students and teachers around the world via technology. The Oracle Group is creating a documentary to be aired on PBS.
To hear Obama's comments, view this video. To learn more about the Reading Across Continents program, click here.