Literacy Support

When stories talk to us

Why We Do It

Literacy level in schools isn’t as good as it should be in Kenya: three of four children under 10 years cannot read a very short story. This is a common situation around the world. The UN is concerned that while access to education has improved the focus now needs to turn to children receiving a quality education.

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The challenges are huge: lack of resources, large classes with often more than 100 pupils, inadequate teaching methods and having to learn in your second or third language. If Kesho can help develop strength and confidence in literacy, children will have a much better chance of thriving at school and we hope will carry their love of books into adulthood.

Kesho Kenya children are passionate about books. From learning pre-reading skills and listening to stories it doesn’t take long for Kesho children to discover the freedom and fun of becoming independent readers.

How we do it

Stories talk to us all. We share beautiful picture books; everyone is captivated. Through games and art we develop pre-reading skills. Once on the ladder, they follow an English and a Swahili reading scheme; learning at their own pace with encouragement and fun. It doesn’t take long for them, their teachers, friends and parents to become hooked.

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They all love stories and reading as much as we do. Our children learn at their own pace with encouragement and fun. What we offer:

  1. A wide range of fun reading activities for primary students.
  2. Regular individual reading practice in our resource centre
  3. School Reading Clubs through the “Tusome” (Let Us Read) project
  4. Community reading sessions at the Kilifi national library service
  5. Literacy classes for parents

Our Impacts

The real impact of Kesho Kenya is immeasurable… it’s seen in the children’s faces as they listen to stories, read to each other, their parents and quietly to themselves.There have been marked improvements in children’s educational achievement, too. Since our Literacy Support Programme began in 2012 the reading ability of Kesho Kenya children has improved.

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Also their performance in their end of Primary KCPE National exam improved. Children with Kesho Kenya are reading up to 17 books a term not counting those they read at the resource centre during the holidays. The table below summarises our most notable achievements.


  • The literacy support project “Tusome” (Let Us Read) reached out to 1,243 parents and 4,788 children in 20 primary schools.
  • During our community reading session on World Literacy Day 2018, about 500 children came to Kilifi library to read, participate in spelling competitions, do word puzzles and practice story re-telling.Adults joined and volunteered.
  • Since 2015, 138 participants have joined Kesho’s adult literacy class of which 10 have passed their KCPE exam.

What students and teachers write

“The Tusome project has been of great importance as it has boosted children reading skills and abilities. Learners are confident and proud of their abilities as seen when they are narrating and retelling stories read to classmates. Pupils rarely miss school on reading club days.” Ms. Florence, Grade 3 class teacher

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“I never saw parents in my school take so much keen interest in a project like in “Tusome” which was without monetary incentives. Children have been very patient and the joy in them when they interact with words and interesting story characters is immeasurable. The issue of leaving school without permission has been eradicated.”Mr. Mohammed, teacher, Mnarani primary.

The secret to education is reading while the secret to success is support. Thanks Kesho for your support”. Written on the back of one of Kesho Kenya’s books by Fadhili, Primary School Child supported by Kesho Kenya

When I told my little girl that I was going back to school she laughed so hard! Now I help her with her homework- something that I could not do before! Thanks for the adult literacy classes, Kesho”. Fatuma – Kesho Mum, participant in Kesho Kenya adult literacy class..

“I can read the bible now and analyze my children’s school report forms. My wish is to sit for the primary school national examinations. I’m working tooth and nail to make this dream come true.”Esther, participant in adult literacy class and awarded for being the best overall adult learner in Kilifi County.