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Ryan Gentles of Excelsior Primary School is the national winner of the Primary Education Support Project (PESP) Third Annual Literacy Kids (‘Lit Kids’) competition.
Young Gentles also finished first as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture’s Region One winner. He was among six winners in the Ministry’s Regions.
Mickella Anderson of Morant Bay Primary copped second place and emerged the Region Two winner, while Shinnel Williams of Brandon Hill All Age was awarded third place national winner, and came in first as the Region Six winner.
The awards ceremony was held at the Caenwood Centre Auditorium on Arnold Road recently, where 18 students from various primary schools were adjudged the best based on their adept literacy skills in creating books that in addition to text, also featured their own illustrations.
In acknowledgment for their literary efforts, the young students received trophies, books and gift packages from various sponsors.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Maria Jones congratulated the young participants.
“Here on display,” she informed the gathering, “are books written and illustrated by Grade Three students. moreover sitting here in this audience, are 18 nine-year old authors.so children, I congratulate you on your first publication, and I have to tell you that most adults have never published a book or a story. be very proud of your achievements.”
On the matter of a prototype manual that compiles the first, second and third national champion stories from Grades One, Two and Three of the Lit Kids Competition, the Permanent Secretary said, “it is a wonderful book and a wonderful testament to Jamaica’s education system, which despite all its challenges, is working.” The manual is to be used by the Ministry when it launches its Literacy 1-2-3 programme next year. The Literacy 1-2-3 model, she explained, is based on the language experience and awareness approach, and is designed to foster in Jamaican students a love for reading and to allow them to develop the necessary literacy skills.
Chief Education Officer in the Education Ministry, Adelle Brown who launched the model, said the literacy intervention was geared at correcting some of the deficiencies in the education system and improving the reading abilities of students from grades one to three.
“This model is going to be well structured and developmentally appropriate,” she explained, “and more than anything else, these materials will be culturally relevant.”
To this end, local cultural icons like Anansi, and fruit trees such as mangoes, will be incorporated in order to make young children have a more immediate and tangible association with the literature they are exposed to.
She said already, the Ministry had initiated change in the area of literacy in the nation’s education system.
“This year, we had 64 per cent of our Grade Four students who mastered in all the components of literacy for Grade Four, so by the time, this Literacy 1-2-3 model gets on the road next year, I am almost sure we are going to have another 10 per cent increase,” she told the audience.