It was a celebration of the work of this island???s young authors when the Awards Ceremony for the School???s Literacy Challenge 2013 was held Wednesday, March 26 at the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael.

???Writing is an art; it is a craft which needs to be nourished overtime so that it can be developed and flourish; if we are to foster a culture of writing and the love for writing, we must inculcate this art in our children from an early age,??? said Education Officer and Chairman of the competition, Christina Morris to those witnessing the event.

Explaining that the ability to write had significantly evolved over the century ???from when early man made drawings on the walls of caves???, she added that society had advanced from depending on paper to communicate ideas, ???to having a plethora of technical devices to help us record and share our thoughts and ideas???.

While the official noted that it was the children???s writings that were being celebrated, she reminded those gathered that they must be cognizant of the critical link that existed between the reading and writing processes. ??????It is through reading and writing that we get to experience the writing of others. It is through reading that we learn how other genres or kinds of writing are structured and organized. It is through reading that we acquire ideas which can be used to help us make meaning on the page while perfecting the art of writing,??? maintained Mrs. Morris.

Deputy Chief Education Officer, Planning and Development, David Clement, while lauding the story-writing competition, said it was one of the exciting ways of helping students to hone their literacy skills. ???In this activity, competing students were given a chance to express themselves in writing; to be creative, to study and build characters appropriate to the theme of the story, to give meaning to virtue, and to preserve some cultural aspects of heritage,???

Stating that ???our students need this type of exposure,??? Mr. Clement said: such activities were conceptualised by the Ministry with the view of assisting schools in the process of delivering the curriculum to the students.

Seventy students submitted entries to the competition which saw Shania Williams, a Class Four student of St. Albans Primary winning first prize in the 9-11 age group for her story ???Bellion and Sellion to the Rescue???.

Second place went to Bethany Sewitt of Belmont Primary with ???Haunted Hill??? while ???An Adventure in The Forest??? by Class Three students of Society Primary and The Mystery of the Locked Door by Zaria Herbert of Belmont Primary tied for third spot. Fifth place in this category went to Vasia Boyce of St. Alban???s Primary for ???The Mystery of the Locked Door???.

In the 7-9 age group, Kiara Grazette of St Catherine???s Primary won first prize for ???Keila???s Exciting Day??? while fellow student Rhea Clarke placed second with ???Filly???s Adventure???.

Princess Margaret School was the only secondary school submitting entries to the competition. Students Maxamillion Hurdle with ???The Ancient Relic and The Modern Idiot??? and Saqen Sealy with ???A World within the Crystal Ball??? received prizes in the Lower and Upper Division respectively.

The Literacy Challenge is an initiative which grew simultaneously with the revised National Policy on Reading, launched in 2007. It was aimed at engaging students at all levels of the [Education] system and promoting literacy, in general, in the daily lives of people. The first Literacy Challenge, in the form of story writing, took place in 2008/2009.

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