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My first book - Learning and playing

In Sierra Leone almost 100% of children aged 0-5 don’t have any literacy skills. To follow two thirds of the countries adults are illiterate. My first book allows the zero to five age group of Sierra Leone to be able to learn basic literacy skills, before they enter their education system at the age of 6. The participation and help of their elders will also allow them to develop their own skills.

Photo of Carla Tanaka
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The book comprises of different categorised images on each page. Below this image are a number of different shapes and colours for different letters. The book will arrive in a box which will also include 36 different 3d shapes, 26 different 3d shapes for the letters of the alphabet and 10 different 3d shapes for numbers, colouring pencils and an additional note pad. The code uses 5 shapes combined with 8 different colours. Circles to represent numbers, triangles to represent vowels and squares, pentagons and hexagons to represent consonants.The aim of this pack is for the Child to make a connection between the different 3d blocks, the shapes and the colours. This will eventually allow them to write each letter, in connection with the 3d shapes, under each image. Finalising in them spelling the image displayed.

Once the book is completed the bricks can be used to build structures that create different words, as well as be used for building and playing.

The idea is making a series of books, increasing the difficulty level by level, including new information on each volume. Other volumes may be about plants, geometric shapes, mathematics and the final volumes may content full stories based in the local culture and legends. 

Is possible that in the future books in the second language of Sierra Leone, the Krio in partnership with local educators.  


As the English is the first language in 58 countries, this book series can be applied in most of them, making some cultural adaptations. Is also possible to turn it into a commercial product which all the profits gained with the sales would enable the free distribution in poor countries and regions. 

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Every child who finds it difficult or cannot read and write within Sierra Leone, and it will also permit interaction between illiterate adults and the child.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

Placing these books within a nursery and getting them to use the books during their English lesson or reading time.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

Only the participation from the education system to allows us to place this in a local school.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Taz Fear

Yee Ting Chang suggested possibly using materials as the letter shapes/blocks: I agree that this would only further enhance the learning properties in this book - but perhaps we can enhance the lives of those in Sierra Leon by making using local crafts men create the pieces: it would get the adults involved too (many of whom are illiterate themselves) this would serve as a learning practice possibly to even those that make the blocks - becoming familiar with letters - maybe inspire them to improve their own education.
Great concept - well thought out and developed! Keep going and Congrats on getting into the Top Ideas! :)

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