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Catch Them Young (CATHY)

Primary school students at ZODML CATHY session at Community Library in Ikoyi, Lagos

"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo, children’s book author

Research has shown that reading regularly for pleasure positively impacts children’s cognitive development and performance at school.

The Catch Them Young (CATHY) Programme is a monthly reading program designed to encourage a love of books and reading among local government primary school pupils aged 5 to 11.

Each month during the school year, 26 pupils are selected from 15 local government primary schools and each is given a book to read. They are then invited to ZODML’s Community Library to discuss the book with ZODML librarians, authors, or volunteers.

Since the launch of the CATHY Programme in 2003, the project has played host to a number of renowned Nigerian authors, including the late Cyprian Ekwensi (author of Jagua Nana and The Drummer Boy) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Purple Hibiscus (which was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book in 2005) and Half of a Yellow Sun (which won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction).

After the programme, each pupil receives a free Library card which provides them with continued access to reading and learning resources.