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Reading project making a difference, says education ministry

Published:Saturday | July 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Claire Spence (second left), USAID bilateral manager, and Claudette Carter (fourth left), project director at the Ministry of Education, join the outstanding performers in the Partnership for Improved Reading Outcomes Project.

Thousands of early grade students, their teachers, and principals from across the island have benefited from the expertise of reading coaches over the past two years under the United States Agency for International Development/Ministry of Education (USAID/MOE), Partnership for Improved, Reading Outcomes Project.

The coaches, teachers, and principals were lauded recently for their sterling efforts in boosting instruction in early grade reading in a recent incentive awards ceremony.

The provision of reading coaches to all 450 schools in the first year, and 300 schools in year two, was one of the major initiatives of the USAID/MOE partnership to bolster the National Literacy Team's ability to improve the reading skills of children in the primary school system and facilitate sustainability in the use of the emerging methodologies as the national format for literacy instruction in schools.


Support for teachers


The aim was for the reading coaches to work with the National Literacy Team to provide direct support to teachers, enabling them to support the grades one, two, and three students in the system.

Project director of the USAID/MOE Partnership for reading Outcomes Claudette Carter used the recent ceremony to announce the winners of the incentive awards and prizes, which were supported by the USAID/Digicel Enrichment Project, which is being implemented by the Digicel Foundation.

Addressing the incentive awards ceremony, Dr Grace McLean, chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, said the system had benefited greatly from the assignment of the coaches to the schools as they made a significant contribution to the advancement of literacy attainment in grades one to three.

According to McLean, the USAID/MOE Literacy Project in selected schools reported significant improvements over the past two years.

"Under the USAID/MOE reading project, there has also been an increase in the number of schools implementing programmes to address gender disparities as well as utilising parenting initiatives to improve the reading of children," said McLean.