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Reading clinic promotes growth

Published:Tuesday | August 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The ability to read is a powerful tool, but a passion for reading is an even more powerful quality. The Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic (JIRC) wants to develop the passion for reading at the earliest stages, targeting children in need of literacy intervention.

The Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic is a strategic initiative designed to support and increase literacy development through education, poverty reduction, peace and cultural development across the Caribbean.

According to executive director of JIRC, Santana Morris the programme addresses five main components of literacy - fluency, comprehension skills, vocabulary development, phonemics and phonological development. Literary specialists and principals, she said are engaged to recommend students most in need of the intervention.

"Our objective is to help students that are having literacy issues to master the art of reading. We have created special programmes to help students that are having literacy challenges and we also use culturally relevant books so that we can preserve our culture. This year we used books that were donated by the Jamaica Information Service and written by Jamaican authors," Morris said.

The JIRC Summer Reading Camp was first held in 2016 in seven parishes. This year, there was a mixture of activities, including an 'edutainment' package, where different professionals spoke to the students about the importance of literacy and how it would be applied in their work and field.

"We are all about nation building. We have seen improvements in the children that we target and we continue to serve and offer relevant strategies to help them improve," Morris said.

Dionne Sampson-Gaynor, supervisor at the JIRC event held at the Greater Portmore Baptist Church in St Catherine, said the response was great from the 60 students who participated in the week-long camp.

"We are passionate about literacy and reading empowers the children to become great. During this period we saw where there was great interest from the students and they loved the activities. We made it fun and they became more confident in themselves," Sampson-Gaynor said.

The children are screened at the start of the camp to ascertain their level of need and are assigned accordingly. Some 800 volunteers, including 300 teachers, assisted in the teaching and running of the camps.

The JIRC also aims to use culturally relevant books and material to help the youngsters relate to the lessons and is looking to utilise digital solutions to help children learn to read.

For more information on the JIRC visit its website: , Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.