NINE-YEAR-OLD DANIEL Williams of Marlie Mount Primary School is the winner in the Grades 3-4 category of the Bookworm Bites Summer Read competition, a collaborative effort of the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation and JN General Insurance Company Limited (JNGI).
The competition seeks to encourage the development of a reading culture among primary-school-age students, said Chris Hind, general manager of JNGI. Under the programme, entrants are required to prepare book reports on three books they read during the summer holidays.
"I am so happy," said Daniel during a presentation at his school recently. He received a Netbook along with a book voucher from JNGI.
"I didn't expect that I would win," the future zoologist admitted. He said that he enjoys reading as it is fun and helps him to build his vocabulary.
Daniel did his book report on Charlotte's Web, which is a children's novel by American author E.B. White; Over our Way, a collection of Caribbean short stories by Jean D'Costa; and Sharing Places by Lindo Bar. His favourite was Charlotte's Web, which he explained is about the importance of friendship.
"Reading is very important because it builds your vocabulary, so that you can be the next prime minister, vice-principal, doctor or nurse," he advised.
Unlike Daniel, his father Clive was not surprised that his son had emerged as a winner. He said, "I am very proud of him, because he reads a lot."
Love for books
Williams pointed out that Daniel had developed a love for books from quite early. He said, "As a toddler, we started reading the Bible story books to him. We normally read the Bible and talk to him about the stories every night before he goes to bed."
"We don't have to coax him to read," Williams stated. "He is always finding something to read. He would get the newspapers and read from them."
Pamela Mapp, principal of the Marlie Mount Primary School, said she was very proud that Daniel was the winner in his category. She pointed out that, "Once a child is reading, all the other subject areas become easier to understand."
The general manager of JNGI said the competition is in keeping with 0the company's focus on advancing the education agenda in Jamaica, particularly eradicating illiteracy and increasing numeracy at the primary-school level. Hind declared that, "We want to promote reading as a rewarding habit for our young people to develop."