JIRC reading camp up and running out west
One thousand children ages six to 17 will benefit from the Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic (JIRC) 2018 literacy camp, which started in western Jamaica yesterday.
The weeklong event includes some 400 volunteers, including literacy specialists, teachers, university and college students, as well as graduates and members from various social clubs and agencies.
The camps, which will run until July 27, will take place at the Calvary Baptist Church Education Centre in St James; the Lucea Baptist Church Education Centre in Hanover; the Savanna-la-Mar High School in Westmoreland; the Spicy Hill Community Centre in Trelawny; and the Middle Quarters Primary School in St Elizabeth.
Received 2,000 applications
Camps are also being held at the May Pen Primary School in Clarendon and at the University of the West Indies (Chancellor Hall) in Kingston.
"The first time we had this programme, we had over 1,000 participating children in seven parishes," the Rev Everton Jackson, board member of the non-profit JIRC, told The Gleaner.
"Last year, we had the programme in all parishes and this year we scaled down to seven parishes again because we had nearly 2,000 applications and had to cut a lot of people [from the list] and say no to them. So it has been well received by children and parents alike," he added.
This year's camp will focus on comprehension, vocabulary and fluency using puppetry, paired reading, group activities and digital media, among other strategies.
Appreciation for reading
While the organisers of the camp did not promise a drastic change in students with literacy challenges in one period, they expect that at the end of the week, youths should have a greater appreciation for reading, as well as improved levels of critical thinking, and social and networking skills.
"The importance of literacy cannot be overemphasised. Whatever the field of occupational pursuit one undertakes, reading becomes vital and necessary," Jackson noted.
"Literacy enables empo-werment, facilitates critical thinking, and it also allows persons to be better equipped academically and vocationally to make a contribution to the continued development of our society," he added.
Additional special features of this year's summer reading camp will include a display of appropriate reading materials across all centres by the Jamaica Library Service, as well as special activities organised by the Early Childhood Commission for children aged six years old.
Among the partners sponsoring this year's activities are Sandals Foundation, NCB Foundation, Kiwanis, Food for the Poor, CB Chicken, Citizen Security and Justice Programme, Jamaica Library Service, TRWE Consultancy, and churches, among others.