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KINGSTON — Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, says that the Government intends to spread literacy right across the country “like a vaccine against social ills."

He was speaking at a function yesterday at the Allman Town Primary School in Kingston to mark ‘Read Across Jamaica Day’.

Mr. Holness noted that “literacy – the ability to read, comprehend, compute and communicate – is a very important social good and without it, our society cannot progress”.

He encouraged the students to consistently practise the habit of reading, noting that “this is one of the most important skills that you will have in your life. Reading is the basis of knowledge and knowledge is the currency of our society."

Read Across Jamaica Day is an initiative of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), which began in 2005, and is aimed at encouraging children to make reading a regular part of their lives. The day brings together the entire school community to participate in the promotion of literacy.

The Education Minister said that the annual celebration is important to the Ministry’s campaign to achieve 100 per cent literacy at the primary level by 2015.

He lauded Allman Town Primary noting that it “has been singled out as one of the schools that we see is making progress towards universal literacy of its students."

Principal at the school, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith encouraged the children to use their imaginations while they read, especially in cases where books are without illustrations, so that they will not lose interest in the material.

She added that reading is not just calling the words but actually making sense of what is being read.

During his visit, Minister Holness also interacted with and read an excerpt from ‘Reggae Readers’, to students of various grades. The books were donated by executives from telecommunications company, LIME.

The ‘Reggae Readers’ series, which was written to appeal to students at the primary level, includes stories and non-fiction pieces, which aim to foster a love for reading among children, while reinforcing sound moral values. Each book in the three-part series is accompanied by a compact disc (CD) which brings the text to life with music and song.

Other participants in the activities at the institution included representatives from the Ministry, LIME, teachers, parents and guardians.

                                                           

By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter