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History of Coquito

Everardo Zapata-Santillana (Author) is responsible for giving life to "Coquito".

He was born on August 15, 1926 in the city of Cocachacra, Arequipa, Peru. He studied to become a Teacher at the Instituto Superior San Juan Bautista de La Salle and at the age of 20 he began his teaching career.

His first challenge was to create a school in the district of Punta de Bombón, Arequipa, Peru, in response to the directive of the Peruvian government in 1946. He recalls that he gathered the children who were playing on the street, and with all those who had turned seven years old, he formed the first grade. There were 26 students he had to teach to read and write.

"In the past, teachers used American and French methods to teach reading. Teaching reading was complicated. Only the talented ones learned, about 10%. The rest had to repeat up to two times. That's why I started designing a book that would be easy and very simple," indicated Zapata-Santillana.

His first year as a teacher didn't go well. The children weren't learning to read, except for one of his students who was five years old. "At first, I didn't want to accept him because it was required for students to be seven years old, but his mother, who worked as the director of Telegraphs and Posts, asked me to allow him to attend as a free student and he turned out to be a genius, he learned to read quickly," Everardo recounts. That child he talks about claims to be Javier Sota Nadal, who later became the Minister of Education of Peru.

Zapata-Santillana took over seven years to design the "Coquito" book. Since then, "Coquito" has taught reading and writing to over 40 million people.

"Coquito" has been published in more than 15 countries, in the United States since 2006.

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