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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
31 14

Written by

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.

Update
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.  

Update 

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.

31 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Taz Fear
Team

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! :)

Photo of Juliana Dill Mello Martins
Team

Really great concept and very well done models! I loved the idea of children and parents learning together, it combines two main issues for children's development: interaction with parents and literacy skills. I also loved the possibility of making this a commercial product to enable the free distribution to low income communities. Amazing, guys! Have you made any contact with people or companies that could help you to bring this idea to life? Hope it happens soon!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you for your comment, Juliana. We hope this idea goes ahead too, we have not contacted any company to help us with finances, but the plan is working with educators to improve the didactics of the project; non-governmental institutions to test and distribute it and companies to print it, sell it and provide the free ones to distribute.

Thank you again for your contribution!

Photo of Yee Ting (Christy) Chan
Team

great idea! the interaction of simple shapes, colours to match the word and using your hands to move them around, is very effective for children to learn.

And I am thinking of the use of colours and shape, instead of using more combination of colours and shapes to represent the rest of the letters,
Why not using different materials and texture( eg, wood, metal, smooth , flutty)

for example 3 sets of 9 letters--- using the same order of colour and shape
but 3 sets in different materials

hope this will help!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you Yee Ting Chan, your comment made me think about what else the shapes can teach them, the textures idea is lovely. Showing them different materials and textures can make it more interesting for them and consequently improve their interaction with the product.
We will need to think about the practical application and the cost of it, but it is something to be considered.

Thank you so much!

Photo of Ayman Hanafi
Team

Great idea Carla, always room to spread education. Colours and shapes, great way to get young children interested in learning. As children learn, they also engage the parents and very soon the children are teaching the parents. Picture books are also a great source of learning. Best of luck Carla!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Ayman! We hope this interaction affects positively children and parents as you said, leading them to learn to read and write and improving their relationship too. (:

Photo of Adriano Souza Filho
Team

Well, have you thought about make a series of these books specific to be used at home by parents help? Considering the school deficit in Sierra Leone it could improve your idea.

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you for your question, Adriano. Actually the main idea of our project is this interaction between children and their parents as you said. We made up the signals to enable even the illiterate parents to help their kids to learn, interacting and learning together.

Photo of Adeel Zubair
Team

Thanks everyone for the feedback and I would like to thank my team for doing such an amazing job :D

Photo of Adriano Souza Filho
Team

The idea is simple and can be very efficient to help Sierra Leone children overcome illiteracy. Well done!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Adriano!

Photo of Cecilia Menarini
Team

Hi team.

I agree with the previous comment of Thamires: children are visual and using this sense as an entry point to capture their attention and engage them is one of our 'secret' as well.

You wrote "This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!"; well, you did!
We may keep in touch and if one of our ideas goes on - H@ppiness Game or My First Book - we may evaluate to join our forces and combine our efforts in the deployment of a united project.

Cecilia

Photo of Thamires Serímaht
Team

Hello, guys!
This is such a great idea! I think that 3d shapes are one of the best solution at this age. Children are very "visual" and do many things through touch. Working with their own culture, they will be more motivated and always be curious to learn even more.
Congrats again.

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you for your feedback, Thamires!
We really hope to get their attention and enable them to learn while they are playing (:
Our team is happy to hear it from you!

Photo of Ana Maria Copetti Maccagnan
Team

Great work!
After finishing the book, wouldn't be good if the kids receive a new book with more difficulty activities? Like writing phrases and etc.
Congrats on the graphic part

Photo of Sam Graham
Team

Thanks for the feedback! Once the book is complete we're hoping that the shapes and letters could be used to create new words and structures without the book. The child could go outside and look at a certain thing in their surroundings and see if they could spell the words with his shapes. As well as create structures!

Photo of Athina Andrade
Team

That's such a great idea, Sam and team! :)

And I also agree with Ana Maria, it would be really nice if later they received higher level books to give them new 'challenges' — maybe also using the shapes and letter from this one.

Photo of Sanjali Jain
Team

I agree!
Good and thoughtful idea.
This will allow kids to go beyond their knowledge. They will surely feel more confident in real life.
Confidence is very important for kids in small age to build up.
And having different level books will suit them accordingly. :)

Photo of Pedro Rodrigues
Team

Thank you for the comments and we as a team agree with the idea of the "challenges". If this idea became real we can develop different books with different tasks and levels.

Photo of Masheyat Chowdhury
Team

Absolutely love this idea! As well as teaching the young children about colours and animals, also consider shapes (within the shape technique you are using) this will help them with their everyday life as they will come across shapes amongst other things. Well done!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Masheyat! We will certainly consider it!
In the next volumes or tests we intend to add shapes and other subjects!
Thanks for your contribution!

Photo of Gustavo Frisoli
Team

Thanks Masheyat for you comment, we think that using forms and colors we can increase their brain activity, the best way that they can learn more in such a young age.

Photo of Ariadne Helen Quintino
Team

Hey there "My first book" team! I do love your idea. I can see in it all the research you did, about the indices of literature, the local language, the animals you use that are part of your researching country. So I think that's a good solution to the main problem. As a tip for the next step I would say you could divide the book according the level of difficult that each age from zero to five requires. You know what I mean? Well, that's it, once again, I really appreciate your idea guys!

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Ariadne! The idea of making levels according to the age and difficulties is great! The one shown at the picture is only a prototype, but if this project becomes real we will work with many levels and subjects! Also working with educators and local institutions to make it better to the user!
Our team say thank you again (:

Photo of Gustavo Frisoli
Team

Thanks Ariadne for your comment, that's a possible idea, like there were some comments in which we could make another books with some more difficulties, to increase their abilities and skills in learning, reading and writing. That's a good thought!

Photo of Lee Stopher
Team

Cool idea Carla and team,

The combination of playing with 3D objects and reading certainly provides a more diverse learning experience for the parent and child. Some children may be practical learners, others maybe visual, each child is different. The interaction between the parent and child is key to both their development. It is more intuitive and exciting to learn in the company of others.

Just a suggestion. Instead of implementing a brand new codified system into their community could you use games, books, stories and experiences from their culture to construct a coding system. Maybe you could ask them to explain how they currently learn skills and tasks to help them in daily life. Understanding their environment and routine may give you an insight into an adapted way of learning directly linked to their culture and community.

Good luck with the rest of your project. And lovely visuals.

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Lee!
Very interesting point!
The only thing we could do until this moment was using animals from their area, but it's a great idea to look for their cultural stories, objects and other things related to their daily lifes. We want to continue our research about their context to adapt our project as much as possible.
From now we want to learn more about education skills, we have contacted a professional to check if the idea of using the 3D pieces could work and had a positive feedback.

Photo of Sam Graham
Team

Thanks lee, All feedback is welcome! I was doing some research and found many nursery rhymes from their culture. .Maybe there's a way we could use this.

Photo of Joner de Quadros
Team

carla excellent idea.
I love this idea that will help children that need more attention.
help those children's growth intellectual of a poor country is better than to give alms.

Photo of Carla Tanaka
Team

Thank you, Joner!
Me and my team are very committed to trying to help them with education and intellectual development!