Minister of Education Hon. Andrew Holness, has encouraged students who are struggling with reading, not to become discouraged or withdrawn from their classes.
He also exhorted parents and teachers to be more patient with them, instead of giving up. “Not all children will read at the same pace or acquire the skills at the same time, but it doesn’t mean that they will never develop the reading skill,” he said.
Mr. Holness explained that teachers might have to change their teaching and motivation strategies, and pay special attention to those children.
The Minister was speaking at the Mona Primary School, in St. Andrew, where he read to grade four students, as part of the activities to mark Read Across Jamaica Day, today (May 5).
Mr. Holness pledged that the Ministry would do its part to ensure children attain 100 per cent literacy at the primary school level. He said that additional resources would be directed toward helping children who fail to master the Grade Four Literacy Test after several attempts.
Minister of Education Hon. Andrew Holness, speaks to students of Mona Primary School, in St Andrew, about the value of reading, when he visited the school on Read Across Jamaica Day, today (May 5).
“Right now, the Ministry is working on a project to put in place additional classroom structures to meet the additional space requirements for this new policy,” he informed. Mr. Holness is anticipating that as many as 4,000 primary school students will require special help with reading.
President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Doran Dixon, who also read to the students, said that reading is the most important thing they would do. “Reading allows you to go to places and to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” Mr. Dixon said.
Principal of the school, Wilton Bishop, said he was happy with the new policy of the Ministry, which now places greater emphasis on literacy, rather than on the Grade Six Achievement Test.
Member of Parliament for the area, Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, and two students, Johnelle Dias and Alex Hines, also took turns reading, ‘The Dentist’, from the book, ‘How Did We Get Here?’
Read Across Jamaica Day is an initiative of the JTA, which began in 2005, and is aimed at encouraging children to make reading a regular part of their lives. It is expected to foster interest in reading, by bringing together the entire community to participate in the promotion of literacy.