Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Reading Competition has opened my mind

Published:Saturday | April 16, 2016 | 4:00 AM

Reading Competition has opened my mind

The National Reading Competition has been, for me, an excellent tool for personal development that has in a number of ways, enhanced my academic and social life. I first entered the competition in the six-to-eight age group, and in addition to winning the parish and national championships, was awarded for gaining the most points in the competition overall.

This was an exciting challenge, building on the foundations I had, having been taught to read as a toddler. Reading the assigned books and preparing for the written assignments involved hard work that helped me to develop discipline, personal motivation and time management, even from this early age. I learnt to manage the preparation for the competition, as well as my usual leisure activities and homework.

My vocabulary and writing skills were improved in the process, preparing letters and learning words for the crossword challenge. By doing so, I was able to advance academically, learning skills in written and verbal communication that were later applied in my classwork, and other social engagements. The exposure I gained at this stage was also an excellent means of enabling interaction with my peers, socialising during preparation for the national competition and making friends during our hotel stays.

On entering the nine to 11 category in 2015, I was introduced to analysing and interpreting information to prepare for writing the book reviews and story endings. For me, this process was helpful in developing these and other skills such as organising and effective communication of information and ideas, which have proven to be important, especially to my schoolwork, as I am required to produce reports and projects of various forms.

John Locke says, "Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours." Allow me to add that expression makes it meaningful.

The National Reading Competition is not just about reading. As a matter of fact, reading may be the lesser objective, while learning to apply and developing skills of critical thinking, organisation, personal motivation and time management are the personal prizes of this competition. This translates into helping me to be a more focused student, prioritising my tasks and assignments and managing my time to ensure that they are all done within the given deadlines, as well as allowing me to be entrusted with leadership roles in my social settings.

Certainly, the rewards of the competition are not just personal. The material rewards have been great! It was a wonderful feeling for the two years to have lifted the TVJ trophy as national champion. The cash prizes, hotel stays, resort entries, books, school supplies, bursaries and tablet PC were all great prizes courtesy of our generous sponsors.

My experience in the competition has motivated others to become involved. They have seen the merits of the competition and how it has enhanced my capabilities.

So thank you to the Jamaica Library Service for this excellent initiative.

JADE MULLINGS

National Champion 6-8 category 2013

National Champion 9-11 category 2015