Parents and guardians have been urged to get involved in their children’s lives to encourage reading and to make them better readers.
Speaking at a rally in Heritage Square on Friday, 8th February, 2019, following the Early Learners Programme (ELP) Literacy Road Show, featured speaker, Gloria Williams, in her address urged “parents, guardians and community leaders to join the fight” by continuing the reading process when children are not in school.
Williams stressed that getting involved in a child’s life at school is fundamental in helping to make them avid readers; she emphasized that “all hands are needed to be on deck.”
Head of the St. Lucia based Education Development Management Unit, OECS Commission, Sisera Simon, expressed her delight with being part of the march and noted “the message was clear, that reading is fun.” Simon disclosed that a similar activity was held in St. Lucia, noting that there is great anticipation of the activities in the other member states.
She pointed out that the OECS since 2012, has been mandated to implement an education strategy which seeks to improve learning for every child in the education system. Simon noted that the march and rally activity bears the fruits of the commitment to supporting member states in striving to improve early literacy. She also used the platform to congratulate the Ministry of Education for winning two regional awards (children and teacher categories).
Several children from Grades K – 3 along with their teachers and parents gathered at Heritage Square for the march and rally on Friday, 8th February, for the Early Learners Programme (ELP) Literacy Road Show.
The march, which saw various students outfitted in costumes depicting their favorite characters from popular story books; sought to emphasize the Ministry of Education’s thrust in highlighting the importance of reading and their collaborative efforts with five other regional counter parts supported by the OECS and USAID.
Chief Education Officer (AG), Elizabeth Walker, in her remarks said, “reading is critical for the development of our children,” and thanked the OECS for their support in developing the “Early Learners Programme”. The Chief Education Officer (AG) noted that the programme is tailored with the goal of “improving the reading achievement level of all learners at the early primary level.” Walker indicated that the first seven years of a child’s life is crucial; since they learn at a much faster pace than any other time in their lives, hence the focus on reading now.
Walker added that ELP has served as an integrating force that brought together organizations and individuals in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and across the region, with the goal of executing plans to improve teaching and learning of reading. She also revealed that the ELP has trained over 400 teachers from Grades K-3 to improve the quality of teaching by incorporating on a daily basis learner centered approaches.
All seventy-one Primary Schools including the Grenadines were equipped with learning resources for students and teachers through the ELP Programme. Additionally, the ELP awarded ten persons who participated in the 'Right to Read' competition, geared at encouraging Vincentians and citizens of other member states, to be creative by writing and publishing their work.