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We asked Literacy Specialists, Teachers and Educational Psychologists what they thought of 8020



Sarah L. Wicks, Specialist Teacher and Dyslexia Assessor


Sarah is a Specialist Teacher and Dyslexia Assessor with well over a decade's experience in the classroom at all levels. A fully qualified teacher of English, Accredited Member of the British Dyslexia Association, Professional Member of PATOSS and a qualified SENDCO. Sarah has a fully valid and current Assessment Practicing Certificate and can therefore assess for Dyslexia for all age ranges.  She loves reading and helping others to learn to read. Her favourite pastime is finding and sharing books that get her learners hooked into reading.

"8020 has clear potential to bring engaging literature to a developing nation. Currently, much literature portrays the dominant narratives held by white, western societies. It is time that narrative was shifted.

Children's book author Rukhsana Khan (2006), described delight seeing a woman dressed in traditional hijab, presented positively to readers, countering narratives of Muslims as terrorists. 8020 provides a potential to hold a mirror to the experiences of people whose voices might otherwise not be heard, or even found, in a world fascinated by white, male authors.

The existence of a book which tells stories of people with unique voices and often missed or ignored perspectives enables societies to see and learn about the world’s inhabitants in their own words. The National Council of Teachers pride themselves on finding stories that ‘deconstruct dominant narratives’ and thus such a book would contribute to this growing body of literature that seeks to encompass everyone.

Having worked with SoniMind and Enactus UK in previous years supporting teacher development in Africa, and the importance of teaching people to read in ways that have been empirically researched, I know the significance of bringing engaging literature to children across the world.


Being able to read stories about people like oneself adds weight and value to literacy and literature. A project, such as 8020, means that children will see themselves reflected in the stories, and thus feel as though their voices will be heard."


Florence Katono, Speaker, Writer, Poet and Storyteller


Florence is a Speaker, Writer, Poet and Story Teller. 


And then she has a day job as Principal Administrative Assistant at Bank of Uganda. She was recognised as the Pitman P.A of the Year 2015. She is a natural leader who has a deep passion for the Administrative Profession.

She has taken on local and International platforms to share stories, insight and inspiration.

"8020 has touched my heart and it ties in well with some of the thoughts I have been having.


Illiteracy has so many negative effects, poverty being one of them. Uganda has very many people who are being held back in terms of lifestyle, development etc. Our national newspapers are written in English and in a country with so many tribes and clans, it means that those who are illiterate will never be involved, never be in the know especially if the papers are not translated into a local language.


A story is told of a young man who upon returning from an HIV/AIDS workshop, put the condom on the table and was later wondering how what could have gone wrong. Perchance if he were able to read, it would be a different story.


I like the interventions you have come up with. Breaking myths and cultural practises that hinder children especially girls from accessing formal education. In some cultures, early marriages are the root cause of these problems. Some families do not believe in educating girls. Sad!


We could also consider collecting financial aid to have children sponsored in schools at a modest fee. Whereas the Government offers free education, some families cannot afford books, lunches and other materials so the children end up dropping out.


Lastly, I hope the project will grow wide enough to build community schools and vocational centres where children could learn and practise.


Thank you once again for being part of the solution and for being inclusive."


Simon Kitson, Educational Psychologist


Simon's focus is on helping children and young people who are experiencing difficulties at school, especially those struggling with academic work or having behavioural issues. His special interests are Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

"Motivation is one of the foundations of learning and the books that are described on the website (the way in which they are made relevant to the learner) should provide an additional motivator for the reader. Engagement with the subject matter is also an important issue and stories that are relevant to the local context are more likely to engage".


Dr Teresa Wheeler, Child and Educational Psychologist


Teresa is a trained primary school SEND teacher and a qualified and experienced Educational Psychologist. Teresa worked in two Local Authorities and co founded a community interest company before moving to work independently. In addition to contributing towards Education, Health and Care Plan assessments, she also runs her own company delivering high quality work within school settings. Teresa is experienced in assessment, intervention planning and delivery (for learning and SEMH needs), staff training and supervision, therapeutic intervention, bereavement support and consultation and is a trained VIG guider and qualified to deliver Mindfulness to adults (MBSR) and students.

"Reading is a skill that can help with so many different things. We live in a world that values the written word and although people can demonstrate a multitude of skills verbally and practically, if they cannot read this may limit their potential.

Any initiative to promote reading is fantastic. There are many factors influencing reading. In particular- attitudes towards reading are linked with performance on tests (Twist et al, 2007), grammar and comprehension skills (Clark and Rumbold, 2006) and educational success (OECD, 2002).


Young children who are read stories will develop their understanding of what a story is, imagination and how to tell a story before they have even learnt their alphabet. We also know that personalised books can have a powerful impact on a person, and the amazement that a child feels when they can see themselves in a book will improve their engagement with the story. It also enables them to really see themselves as “a reader”.

It stands to reason that a person will identify much more with a character that is from their own country, culture or background. Relatable stories can promote a sense of self-esteem and pride in their own culture and the act of writing the story through the interview includes the individuals in the process from the very start, demonstrating the purpose of storytelling and giving reading a context. This also places value on their skills as a storyteller and highlights that although they may not currently be able to read, they can still share their words with others. The sharing of these stories around the world will diversify libraries and provide many more people with the opportunity to relate to a character in a book."



This is a collaborative project so as with all things,

help us make it better !


You know you can.


The Solomundo Foundation, 8020 and Offworld are registered trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright. All Rights reserved 2022


The Solomundo Foundation and 8020 are registered trademarks of their respective owners

Copyright. All Rights reserved 2022

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