Arts camp building literacy of Maxfield Avenue children
Sports has proven to be a more attractive activity than reading for children along Maxfield Avenue and the surrounding communities in the Kingston 13 area.
But, according to Denelle Wilks-Mohalland, coordinator of the literacy, arts and sports camp currently under way at the St Phillip's Anglican Church off Maxfield Avenue, the main aim of the eight-day event involving more than 40 children is the improvement of their literacy skills.
The camp that started on July 30 comes to an end this Friday. But the reading programme, which started three months prior, will be extended beyond September to December to assist children at the camp who may require further assistance with literacy.
"We start at 9 a.m. each day with an activity called Read Out Loud, where each child is given an age-appropriate paragraph to read to help them with fluency and word recognition, which is a major aim for the camp," Mohalland told The Gleaner yesterday.
The five-and-a-half-hour daily schedule also sees the children, ranging in age from six-15 years old, taking part in arts and crafts, dance, music, football, cricket, netball, and track and field.
"We utilise sports and the arts to attract and engage participants, because you're not going to have a child sit down and read for the whole day, and we want them to have an appreciation for all the sports that are popular in Jamaica," said the camp coordinator. "But, literacy is, of course, a life skill. Many of them, the boys especially, when given the paper, were a little reluctant to read out loud."
Mohalland continued: "As we move forward, those whom we have identified, we will work with them more closely because we have some who are, unfortunately, illiterate."
"It really helped with breaking down the big words, so I feel more confident in my reading going back to school in September," said Hall, a student at Norman Manley High School.
Tony-Ann Jordan, six, expressed similar sentiments: "Reading the Little Lion was my favourite, then painting; and I like netball," she said.
The camp is being sponsored by the Sports Development Found-ation to the tune of $250,000.