February 5, 2013

Hats off to promotion of literacy

Tue, Feb 5, 2013

The photographs in our newspapers of children adorned with hats of varying shapes, sizes and designs, at this time of the year, are now very familiar.{{more}}

The “Hats off to Reading” parades throughout our communities by our primary school pupils, signal that our schools are celebrating their literacy weeks.

Normally held during the months of January and February, the schools’ week-long literacy activities were introduced about six years ago to encourage a love for reading, with particular focus on the celebration of the reading progress of struggling readers.

The schools literacy coordinators organize various activities during literacy week. These include Readers’ theatre, Reading to persons in the community, Integrating Music in Literacy, Public Speaking Competitions, Improvement to school/class libraries, Rallies, Marches and Drama.

We commend the Ministry of Education and our primary schools for this effort to ignite a love for reading among reluctant readers and to encourge more enthusiastic readers to press on.

Programmes like these are necessary now, more than ever, in an age where computers and electronic gadgets are the preferred means through which our children entertain themselves while indoors.

Our children, raised on a diet of fast paced movies and video games, do not get from reading books, the instant satisfaction they have grown accustomed to.

This is very unfortunate, because the discipline of reading a book not only brings with it the gratification of accessing information, but reading develops our ability to abstract, to sequence information and to interpret at an ever increasing pace, because the more you read, the better you are able to read. Good readers are good all-round students.

Reading for pleasure also allows us to travel through time and space, it expands our horizons, and improves our vocabulary and expression.

This is why it is so important for our schools to sustain the reading focus beyond literacy week and for parents and communities to support the efforts of our schools. Children need to see their parents not just reading, but reading with and for enjoyment. The practice of reading bedtime stories to our children should not be allowed to die.

The responsibility to assist our children with their reading while at school, should not fall solely on the shoulders of the Literacy Coordinators. All teachers should promote the joy of reading.

SEARCHLIGHT takes its hat off to the promotion of literacy among our children and wishes all schools success in their reading programmes.