Manchester boys 'power up on reading'
WITH LITERACY rates among children at the primary level not what they should be and a growing concern that boys are not doing as well as girls, the Manchester Parish Library is boosting its initiative to foster a culture of reading among boys.
A reading day themed 'Power up on Reading', with its tag line 'Power up! Charge up! Read!', was recently held at the library's cultural centre, accommodating more than 70 boys from primary schools in Manchester and St Elizabeth.
A programme filled with activities, the boys were given the opportunity to participate in games for active learning, listen to motivational speeches and be rewarded for their efforts.
According to Lorraine McLean, regional director of the Jamaica Library Service, the event is in its seventh year and has grown over the years.
"We have been hosting this since 2008, and the aim of it is to encourage grade four boys to read ... . Most of the students who participate in the reading day are a part of the students we work with as a part of a literacy intervention. The school library network works with these students and they are given to us by the Ministry of Education. Over the years, there has been improvement ... the intervention programme is done right throughout the year and the reading day, once per year after all other activities," said McLean.
The poetry competition, where poems are created on the theme and are presented, judged and prized, is one successful element of getting boys to read more.
"We find that boys do well at poetry and, no matter how poorly they read, they do well at poetry and it's something we use to motivate and encourage them. Even during the reading sessions, we do poetry with them," expressed McLean.
Collette Morris, literacy coordinator at the Ministry of Education, during her presentation, reminded the boys that, though studies show the odds working against them, they have the power to change it.
"Powering up begins right here and now. You should do all that it takes to achieve all of this. Some say the odds are against you, so it takes more effort on our part in order for you to achieve."
She continued: "Eighty-six point four per cent of the girls last year mastered the literacy test, while only 68.6 per cent of the boys mastered the test, so now you understand why we want you to put out more effort ... but it can be done, you can surpass all the statistics despite what the studies have said. I know that you can beat the odds and come out on top. You will have to step up your game, you will have to lift some more books to build those reading muscles ... don't let anybody tell you that reading is girls' stuff. That's a lie."