For the Love of Reading


Ronald is 16 years old, but he still sits in the third grade at Bisozi Primary School in Western Uganda. And, up until a few weeks ago, he couldn’t even sound out the alphabet.

His situation, while probably surprising to many of us, is not uncommon in Uganda. In fact, it’s the norm. Ronald is one of millions of children in Uganda who sit in classrooms every day but aren’t learning. In fact, just a few months ago, the World Bank released new research showing that just 6% of students are able to even read a simple paragraph after finishing the fourth grade.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the country has a learning crisis on its hands. Being in school is simply not the same thing as learning.

Building Tomorrow knows this, and to help kids like Ronald, we launched our fun, interactive Roots to Rise initiative at his school this year. Along with more than 19,000 other children and 70 schools all across Uganda, Ronald got to experience the excitement of active learning and differentiated instruction that research has long shown improves learning outcomes. Now, just 5 weeks after starting our program, Ronald can read and comprehend full stories and has even discovered a new love for English!  

Ronald concentrates on a game of alphabet Bingo.

“I don’t have a favorite book,” he says, “But if it’s any book in English, I’ll read it!”

One of the interactive Roots to Rise games that helped move Robert from falling through the cracks in the education system to being the shining star in his class was the alphabet Bingo game. In this beginner-level activity, students get cards and Bingo boards with alphabet letters on them while the teacher calls out sounds. The first person to completely cover his or her board wins, and the game helps students to practice both listening and visual identification of alphabet letters in a fun setting. “I think the Bingo game is what finally helped me to learn my letters,” says Ronald proudly.

Now that his reading abilities and grades are soaring, Ronald also has dreams of soaring—through the skies, as a pilot. He wants to see the world and help others like him to see it, too.

Will you help more children like Ronald discover the world within books this back-to-school season? Just $20 can bring words and dreams to life for a child in Uganda. Click here to donate.

Ronald makes a heart with his hands to show his love for his Roots to Rise teacher (left) and Building Tomorrow Fellow (right) who helped him discover the world within books.

Stay connected with us!

Follow Us on Social Media