As the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development prepares to celebrate International Literacy Day on September 8, Co-ordinator of the National Reading Programme, Patricia Saul is calling on Barbadians to rally together to improve the literacy skills of the island’s youth.

She was speaking at today’s launch of the Ministry’s Book Campaign, which will see Barbadians donating books to the primary school nearest to their residences.

Ms. Saul stressed that in order to improve the literacy skills of our children there must be full participation from all sectors of society. “We view the involvement of parents, community groups, the private sector, the church and the wider community in the literacy development of our children, as an investment in the future of our nation,” she said.

She pointed out that the launch of the Ministry of Education’s National Reading Policy in 2007 sought to articulate clear guidelines for the teaching of reading in Barbadian primary schools. Ms. Saul added that the policy embraced the assistance of all stakeholders, in ensuring that citizens were prepared for the literacy challenges of the globalized environment.

“During the past year, the Ministry has stepped up its developmental reading programmes and has placed greater emphasis on testing and remediation in primary and secondary schools. Other stakeholders in education have also come on board to assist us with our literacy drive,” she said.

Also addressing the Book Campaign Launch, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Wendy Griffith-Watson said the initiative was a splendid way for Barbadians to give back to the community and contribute to the development of the country.  “It is hoped that schools will use these books to set up their own libraries and make more reading materials available to our Barbadian students,” she stressed.

The second International Literacy Day activity will be a Lunch-Time Literacy Extravaganza affording children the opportunity to participate in public reading sessions on September 8 from 11:00 am to 1:00 p.m in Independence Square, Bridgetown, St. Michael. In addition to the schools in the area, the Barbados Public Library as well as noted Barbadian authors and dramatists are expected to participate.

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