JIS News

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  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is encouraging students to read and make good use of libraries.
  • Rev. Thwaites was addressing the opening ceremony of Reading Day, at the Allman Town Primary School, in Kingston, on April 8.
  • The day is part of the Western Union National Reading Week 2014, which runs from April 7-11 under the theme: ‘A Great Reader Makes A Great Leader’.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is encouraging students to read and make good use of libraries across the island, to help in advancing their education.

“If you don’t have a good library in your school, then ask for the library service to send you a book mobile,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites was addressing the opening ceremony of Reading Day, at the Allman Town Primary School, in Kingston, on April 8. The day is part of the Western Union National Reading Week 2014, which runs from April 7-11 under the theme: ‘A Great Reader Makes A Great Leader’.

He informed that in two years time, there will be a reading component to the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

“You are going to have to read a passage and show that you understand it in order for you to do very well, so it is good to get the practice now,” the Minister told the students in attendance.

Explaining the new focus, Rev. Thwaites said examiners have found that while the children understand the English language, they do not express it well.  He pointed out that it is important to be equally fluent in English and the Jamaican language.

“It is best that at all stages that you are being tested, that you have to express the English language, not only at GSAT but also at CSEC, so that we can be sure that we are a truly bilingual people,” Rev. Thwaites said.

The Minister commended GraceKennedy’s Money Services Division for its passion for education, which has led to its investment in Reading Week. He encouraged other individuals and companies to do the same.

“You don’t need a lot of money to do it, you just need to encourage children to read. We are grateful for all their efforts and want reading to become a habit,” the Minister said.

He told the students that reading can make them happy. “If you are sad or if you are bored, take a book and you can become so engrossed in that book,  you can indeed become very happy. Books make me happy all the while and I urge you to have the same experience,”  Rev. Thwaites  said.

Following the opening ceremony,  the Minister  read with a group of students, two of their favourite stories from Aesop’s Fables, ‘The Farmer and His Son’s’; and ‘The Donkey in The Lion’s Skin’, discussing with them the theme and life lessons behind the stories.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, GraceKennedy Financial Group, Courtney Campbell, said the theme of Reading Week 2014 was specifically chosen to encourage primary school children to embrace the importance of reading, not only for their personal development, but for the growth of the country.

“Research has shown a direct link between the success of a country and the education of its people. It is our aim that, especially during this week, our children will spend more time reading and stimulating their young minds,” Mr. Campbell said.

He noted that during the week the GraceKennedy team will be reaching out to the special needs community, and staff members will visit, read to, and engage children at the Maxfield Park Learning Centre and the Genesis Academy.

Reading Week is part of the I-PLEDGE (I Promise to Lend Encouragement to Develop Growth in Education) programme, which was established by GraceKennedy Money Services, through the Western Union brand.  It was designed to support community development with an emphasis on primary education.

During National Reading Week, senior executives from GraceKennedy, their agents, private individuals, celebrities, media personalities visit select schools between April 7-11 to read to students and donate books to libraries. The programme has spread beyond Jamaica’s shores and is now in the United States, Canada and some Caribbean countries. Today’s event saw the Yorkwoods Public School in Toronto, Canada, participating via Skype.