Tsion Kiros is the founder of Midako Publishing, a children’s book publisher based in Addis Ababa. Since 2014, Midako Publishing has released more than 200 titles written in Ethiopian languages, including Amharic and Oromo, as well as English. Her inspiration for the books came from her children.

“When my children were 3 and 5 I was reading only English books for them. I felt like I was familiarizing them with everything western – names, places, fairy tales, history, and so on. There was nothing in the books that reflected their realities.

It was as if their games, jokes, challenges, history and language had no value. I branched into children’s books so that my children will see themselves in books and know that their lives matter”.

Midako Publishing is currently releasing a series of decodable books in Amharic. The Ge’ez alphabet has over 300 fedels. There are 34 basic fedels and each has 7 sounds/vowels constructed by adding a symbol.

Midako’s innovative method teaches the basic fedels initially then gradually adds the symbols to change the sounds and thus enables new words to be introduced. Midako develops worksheets at each level and children are taught the sounds of new words. They are only given decodable books that use words or fedels and symbols that they have learnt to ensure they can read the whole story.


“Using our method, we have so far developed 30 decodable books at 5 levels, with 20 more to go. Once we finish producing the books and have improved our worksheets and teacher’s guide – following feedback from teachers and test group students – we hope to be able to take our series to the Ministry of Education for endorsement. It could potentially be used in schools all over the country. My number one priority is to get children to read before they are in enrolled in grade one. As it stands now, and according to the government of Ethiopia, a significant number of students in Ethiopia read 0 words correctly at grade 2.* This does not have to be.

If children are taught with the right approach and enough resources they can learn to read Amharic before they even get to grade 1.”

Test group students have shown that children do learn to read and do fall in love with reading. The group has read 30 books so far. After reading 50 decodable books there will be no books at their level currently on the market to help them increase their comprehension and reading fluency. “Our next big challenge is producing more books for children who have learnt to read.

However, finance at Midako is a major hindrance. I use money from my personal account to finance the decodable books and that account is drying up”.

Midako picture books and chapter books can be found at Mega Book Stores around town.

If you are able to assist Midako to produce more books that children love to read, please contact: tsionkiros@gmail.com


Sources: http://www.planetpicturebook.com/

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