Reading project reaping success
April 7, 2006
Reading project reaping success

George W. Bush may be facing stiff opposition in the United States even among his own Republican Party ranks but one of his initiatives has been reaping huge benefits here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Six schools are enrolled in the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training (CCETT). This Pilot project funded by USAID is geared towards training and supporting teachers as they seek to improve the reading level of pupils from Grades One to Three.{{more}}

The recently completed national Diagnostic Reading Test administered to students of Grades Two and Four nationwide reiterated the need for urgent remedial work in the primary school system.

There is however a light amidst the darkness and those schools attached to this pilot program are shining quite brightly. One key individual in the program’s administration here in St Vincent and the Grenadines is Beverly Phillips who serves as the reading specialist.

Although she would not say so herself Phillips is the engine behind the successful administration of this project which commenced in 2003. “We are seeing definite improvement among the schools we are working with…these are schools that were below fifty percent in their acceptable reading skills and now some of them are up to seventy percent,” she stated excitedly, pointing out Gomea Methodist School for special commendation.

Other schools in the program which are seeing marked improvement in the reading skills of their students are Sandy Bay, Park Hill, Questelles, Barrouallie and Sion Hill Government primary schools.

The CCETT is operating in three regions, Central America, the Andrean Region in South America and in the Caribbean.

When asked about the sharing of the wealth with the other schools that need help, Phillips said there are plans to “graduate” schools that show continued improvement in their performance.”As we graduate those schools that are doing well others will be drafted in.”

Graduated schools are expected to receive grants of approximately EC$10,000 to assist in the continuance of the program in the schools.

Although comprehension and usage of dialect still cause concern Philips remains confident that the goal of high reading and comprehension skills can be attained: “Once early work is done, even before formal schooling begins this will eradicate the problem.”