Tue | Oct 26, 2021

National Reading Week Improving student literacy

Published:Thursday | May 2, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Parent Racquel Hemmings, reads to grade-three students at the Jamaica Reading Association and First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Reading Week 'Read Aloud' sessions at the Cockburn Gardens Primary and Junior High School in Kingston on Tuesday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

CONCERNED WITH the level of literacy among its students, Cockburn Gardens Primary and Junior High on Tuesday partnered for the first time with the Jamaica Reading Association (JRA) during National Reading Week.

Reading Week runs from April 28 to May 4 and is sponsored by First Heritage Co-Operative Credit Union (FHC). One of the organisers of Tuesday's activities, Yvette Rodney, said the socio-economic conditions were a major factor in promoting reading.

"We hope to have the children more interested in reading because most, if not all of them, are from the inner city and they don't really have the books," she said. "So we hope to pique their interests to get them excited about reading."

Rodney noted that, apart from the Reading Day, the school also planned lunchtime reading hours, a scavenger hunt, and days where specific words are chosen.

"The students have to learn how to pronounce the word, know the meaning, and they have to use the word in a sentence," she explained.


The JRA implemented Reading Week in an attempt to promote literacy mainly at the primary level and the early secondary levels.

JRA member Phyllis Anderson said reading was the foundation for any subject. The official book for Reading Week is No Boy Like Amanda, written by first-time author Hope Barnett.

"We kind of want to make things uniform this year, so we thought having an official book was a good idea," Anderson said. But other books were also encouraged. No Boy Like Amanda was chosen based on the lessons it teaches children, including building self-esteem, perseverance, and the importance of friendships and parental guidance. The Mico University College student and JRA member Marique Daughtery said the students showed clear understanding.

"It (the book) is a good selection because it's a Jamaican book and the students understand the moral of the story," she said.

Before Cockburn Gardens, schools such as Alpha Primary and Infant, St George's Girls Primary and Mico Practising were visited, with trips to other Corporate Area schools and a number of Portmore schools also planned.

"And FHC has branches all over the island and so some of their employees will be going to schools in those parishes," Haughton explained.