Update from Guatemala: Literacy in Panabaj

Changes are starting to take place at the school in Panabaj, Guatemala, where our charity partner Child Aid is implementing literacy and teacher training programming. Since the launch of our 4 year support program in January, over 450 books have been delivered to the school, and teacher training is already making a difference for both teachers and students.

“Teachers are seeing great success with the books — children have access to the books, are choosing books to their liking and are reading at all times of the day,” says Mildred Esquina, Lead Panabaj Literacy Trainer. “It has been a surprising change in the school to see that today children are the ones who request more books and more read alouds. They shout, “Reading, reading, reading!” and “Another story!” and many more phrases that fill with us with joy.”

In February, Panabaj received their first delivery of books, creating a base collection to use in classroom instruction and reading activities throughout the year. Since then, literacy trainers have led a number of teacher training workshops, focusing on incorporating reading and books into the school’s curriculum.

The first training workshop taught teachers to read aloud with expression. “One teacher told me, ‘Yes we did reading before, but now it’s different. It’s very exciting.’” Mildred said. “At first, the children were surprised to see their teachers reading aloud — using different voices, mimicking character’s movements and asking questions. But they love it!”

The Program Launch: Photos from Panabaj

Book Delivery Day: Literacy Trainer Edgar Garcia helps unload bookshelves at the Panabaj school.


Book Labeling: Mildred and a teacher sort and label the school’s collection of new books while students look on, eager to start reading.

Literacy Trainer Roberto Mendoza models a read-aloud lesson for teachers during the first teacher training workshop.

Teacher José González Quiacaín has the full attention of his kindergarteners as he reads them a story.

A girl adds a new word to the Word Wall in her classroom. Teachers use this tool to help their students remember unfamiliar words and develop their reading comprehension.

Teacher Pedro Xeché Ajcabul reads a story to his third grade class.

Students act out stories for their classmates. The kids had bright smiles while they pretended to be characters from their favorite books.

Jim’s Organic Coffee is proud to have partnered with Child Aid for over 19 years. Learn more about Child Aid on their website, and click here to learn about our Giving Back initiatives in other coffee growing communities.