Young Afghan students with Hoopoe Books

Why is BFA Important?

Literacy is vital for a civil society.

Books in the home are the start …

The U.S. National Center for Family Literacy studies have shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are the two most important indicators of future academic success.

A major goal of our program since its inception has been to provide books for Afghan children to take home. We started our program in 2006 because we felt sure that these findings would apply in Afghanistan and across the world.

Today studies confirm this:

We find that books in the home have a positive payoff in improved test scores throughout the world. The relationship is strong, clear, and statistically significant in every one of the 42 nations (we studied).

Dr. Mariah Evans, University of Nevada
Students with Hoopoe Books in Kunar
Student reading in class

In May 2012, a study was quoted in The New York Times that involved 70,000 students from 27 countries, and revealed that having books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than the father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families.

(Citation: Evans, M.; Kelley, J.; Sikora, J; and Treiman, D. 2010. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2010, 171–197.)

Books in their mother tongue make reading so much easier for children …

Children whose primary language is not the language of instruction in school are more likely to drop out of school or fail in early grades. Research has shown that children’s first language is the optimal language for literacy and learning throughout primary school. (UNESCO, 2008)

We provide wonderful stories from their own cultures in bilingual editions of Dari and Pashto, Afghanistan’s main languages. For most young girls and boys these will be the first storybooks from which they learn to read and experience the joy of reading and learning.

If a child develops good reading skills in her native tongue, she can apply these skills when she learns to read a second language. Reading and comprehending good fiction and non-fiction in our own language first makes the task so much easier because we don’t have to struggle with a less familiar language, its vocabulary, sentence structure or written form, all of which are different. And the skills and pleasure of the reading habit itself transfers to the second language.*

Afghan Kids in a colorful group with Hoopoe Books

Photo from Eternal Threads. Read their blog post on Finding Hope.

*Krashen, S., 2004, The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research. Heinemann. Portsmouth.

The Hoopoe series has been commended by Western educators and psychologists, the Library of Congress, National Public Radio and other media for their universality and unique ability to foster social-emotional development, thinking skills and perception in children and adults alike. And because they are highly contextual, they are ideal for beginning and early readers of all ages: in elementary, middle and high schools, adult literacy and ESL classes.

The need to increase literacy is vital for Afghanistan as it struggles to ensure stability, autonomy and peace for all its people.

With your help, we provide the opportunity for reading to take place in every home or gathering – anywhere so long as kids have the basic material: books of their own.