The maiden Cocoa Communities’ Cluster-Level Reading Competition was hosted by PDA on the 11th and 12th of October 2023. The 2-day event saw ten schools within the Ahafo-Ano Southwest and Ahafo-Ano Southeast districts competing for the winning and first runner-up positions in each district to secure spots in the grand Annual Reading Festival slated for December 2023. The competition forms part of the Cocoa Communities’ Library Project being implemented by PDA with funding support from Magic Libraries Foundation. A key component of the project is to ignite the interest of students, particularly those in rural cocoa-growing communities, in reading and comprehension using relatable and age-appropriate books of African origin.
Day one of the event was hosted in the Ahafo Ano Southwest district. In her introductory remarks, the Project Lead, Victoria Ampiah, expressed her excitement about the competition and was optimistic that the project was going to achieve the desired impact, after observing the enthusiasm from students and their patrons alike.
The participating schools within the Ahafo Ano Southwest district included Barniekrom D/A Primary, Kunsu D/A Primary ‘A’, Dunyan Nkwanta D/A Primary, Mankranso D/A ‘B’, and Boatengkrom Islamic Basic School. The keenly contested competition saw Barniekrom D/A Primary, and Dunyan Nkwanta D/A Primary emerging as the winners and 1st runners-up, respectively.
On day two of the competition, five schools within the Ahafo-Ano Southeast district also competed at Adugyama for the 1st and 2nd positions to be able to progress to the final level of the competition (i.e., the Annual Reading Festival). Participating schools include Asempaneye Basic School, Asuadei D/A Primary, Biemso No.1 R/C Primary ‘A’, Potrikrom D/A Primary, and Abesewa R/C Primary. The contestants put up an incredible performance as they demonstrated their superior knowledge in the competition. The hotly-contested competition saw Asempanaye Basic School, and Potrikrom D/A Primary securing the 1st and 2nd positions, respectively.
Structure of Competition
The competition was structured in three rounds. In the first session which constituted a spelling bee, contestants from participating schools were expected to correctly spell 10 words each to earn them 30 points. In the second round (i.e., the speed test round) contestants were expected to provide straight-forward answers to 10 questions derived from three books of Ghanaian origin — The Book Publisher (written by Lawrence Darmani); Tutu and the Talking Book (written by Ama Boatemaa); and Rosewood (written by Anthony Kwamlah Johnson) — within three minutes. This round was intended to test contestants’ ability to answer questions with speed and under pressure. In the third and final round, contestants’ comprehension skills were tested. In this round a passage was given to the participating schools, based on which they were to provide correct answers to specific questions.
Awards and Recognition
In recognition of their efforts, each participating school was honored with a citation to acknowledge their commitment to improving reading and comprehension among students. Winning schools from each district received trophy, while contestants and their cheering teams also received story books of African origin and other stationery materials.
The winners and first-runner-ups from each district will participate in the Annual Reading Festival slated for the first week of December 2023.