Feature
Principal of Lucea Primary School, in Hanover, Yasmin Anderson-Jackson (centre), assists Enrichment Coordinator, Jodi-Ann Campbell (right), as they tutor students enrolled in the Enrichment Programme.
Photo: Okoye Henry

Story Highlights

  • Staff and students of the Lucea Primary School, in Hanover, have much to celebrate as the continued intervention of the school’s Enrichment Programme has become a cornerstone to improving the literacy level at the institution.
  • The enrichment programme began as an islandwide initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information with key partners, such as the Digicel Foundation.
  • The initiative employs differentiated teaching methodologies, such as the jolly phonics and other highly effective language-based lessons that ‘enrich’ both the learning and teaching experience of students, thereby addressing their literacy needs.

Staff and students of the Lucea Primary School, in Hanover, have much to celebrate as the continued intervention of the school’s Enrichment Programme has become a cornerstone to improving the literacy level at the institution.

The enrichment programme began as an islandwide initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information with key partners, such as the Digicel Foundation.

The initiative employs differentiated teaching methodologies, such as the jolly phonics and other highly effective language-based lessons that ‘enrich’ both the learning and teaching experience of students, thereby addressing their literacy needs.

At Lucea Primary, the programme began in 2013 with the establishment of an enrichment centre, and targeted those students from grades one to three who had trouble reading. The initiative steadily garnered success throughout the academic years, improving the reading ability of those ‘exposed’ students, many of whom read below grade level.

In the 2018/2019 school year, the institution’s grade one students produced the greatest results under the programme to date, according to the school’s Enrichment Coordinator, Jodi-Ann Campbell.

Principal of Lucea Primary School, in Hanover, Yasmin Anderson-Jackson (centre), assists Enrichment Coordinator, Jodi-Ann Campbell (right), as they tutor students enrolled in the Enrichment Programme.

 

“When that set of grade ones came in, at least 85 per cent of them were reading below pre-primer,” says Ms. Campbell, who explains that pre-primer and primer indicate below a first grade reading level.

“When they came it was about 108 students, 47 girls and 61 boys. When the 47 girls came in there were 38 of them reading below pre-primer, one at pre primer, six at primer, one at grade one and one at grade two,” she notes.

Ms. Campbell adds that out of the 61 boys who came, 52 were reading below pre-primer, four reading at pre-primer, three at primer, one at grade one and one at grade two.

“After we did the intervention, re the Jolly Phonics programme, we saw marked improvement. For our post-test, the same 47 girls that came after leaving grade one, there were only three girls reading below pre primer, four at pre primer, seven at primer, 15 girls at grade one, 11 at grade two, four reading at grade three and one girl reading at grade four,” she notes.

Ms. Campbell says that for the 61 boys, only 15 boys were reading below pre-primer, six at pre-primer, 10 at primer, 15 at grade one, nine at grade two, three at grade 3 and one boy reading at grade 4.

She tells JIS News that these results were achieved with support from the grade one teachers as well as the active Literacy Committee.

“We had structured reading sessions in each class where each time table is structured for reading. We have ‘wear a word Wednesdays’, so on a Wednesday we wear different words. We have an active reading club also and we have a grade one spelling bee competition,” Ms. Campbell says.

Similar methodologies are now adopted across grades two and three of the current school year.

Principal of Lucea Primary School, Yasmin Anderson-Jackson, believes this will help to produce even better results at the end of the 2019/2020 academic year.

“It is very important because they will do better in their Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination and when they read, they become more aware of what is happening around them,” she tells JIS News.

“So, now we are strengthening the programme where we have gone out to get ourselves some more Jolly Phonics kits, so that other grades will be able to use. Also this year, we did an intervention for the children who are coming in at grade one. So, we had our grade one summer programme where they were exposed to some of the activities before they entered grade one. We are hoping that this year’s grade one will do just as well as last year,” she adds.

Mrs. Anderson-Jackson is recommending that other schools enlist in the enrichment programme that has been launched in a number schools across Western Jamaica, and the country, by extension.

Parent, Tania Williams, tells JIS News that her son’s educational development has improved significantly since he was enrolled in the enrichment programme in grade one, in the previous academic year.

Ms. Williams says he is now able to easily identify words by associating the sounds and actions of those words.

“When my son sees a word that he does not know, he is able to use that skill from the Jolly Phonics to help him to figure out the word and know what the word is,” she adds.

Ms. Williams lauds the school and its enrichment specialists for the time they have invested in her son’s literacy development, noting that “he has made good progress.”

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