The Ministry of Education, Region 4, has launched a reading initiative dubbed ‘Reading Until Something Happens (RUSH)’, to aid in attaining 100 per cent literacy by the year 2015 in St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
To achieve this, officers in the region will employ different reading methods at all the learning institutions under their supervision.
Regional Director at the Ministry, Hillary Foster, told the launch, which was held on May 21 at the Montego Bay Community College, in St. James, that they are committed to addressing the challenge of students performing below regional and national standards.
“We have been implementing several initiatives and interventions geared towards the promotion of literacy in schools. We are cognizant that in order to achieve 100 per cent literacy by 2015, there must be consistent and committed participation from all stakeholders. The Region has therefore designed a programme, which will lead to excellence in our overall academic achievements,” the Director said.
She added that the various activities will raise the “level of literacy awareness, fostering greater participation within and among schools, and strengthening the intrinsic relationship between the home, school and the wider community.”
“We are proposing that all our teachers be ‘teachers of reading’. There are numerous studies which have highlighted the importance of reading in academic achievements. It improves vocabulary, comprehension and overall literacy,” she said.
Meanwhile, Patron of the programme, Marline Stephenson-Dalley, charged the parents and communities to appreciate the importance of reading, noting that the gains will be “invaluable”.
“I implore you, begin today to build your knowledge base, begin today to dedicate yourself to reading. We know what our goals are, and we cannot achieve it without the help of the students, the parents, the teachers and the community. It is going to be invaluable later on in life. Let us create the environment for our students, let us use books as a reward, let us buy the books as presents, and allocate time for reading,” Mrs. Stephenson-Dalley said.
For his part, Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Michael Troupe, told the gathering that “success doesn’t come overnight; it is something that you have to push to achieve.”
“Reading must be an element of our daily life, and the reading initiative is of utmost importance for the benefit of our youth. Implementing such a programme within the education system will help to develop our children, and will also provide encouragement and guideline for co-operation among the homes, schools and communities,” Councillor Troupe said.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus