Early Learners’ Regional Advisory Body Points the Way to Project Completion and Long Term Implementation of the Reading Advancement Strategy
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(EMU) – St. Kitts, November 20, 2019: St. Kitts-Nevis Focal Point for the OECS Early Learners Programme Jacqueline Bassue says she is confident of the sustainability of the Early Learners’ Programme (ELP) following the recently held Regional Advisory Group (RAG) meeting in St. Kitts from the 14th – 15th November 2019.
Following very robust discussions to plan the way forward for the Early Learners’ Project, an advisory group comprising focal points from beneficiary countries visited the Edgar T Morris and St. Pauls Primary Schools in St. Kitts to assess the progress of the project which seeks to improve reading levels of students in Kindergarten to grade 3.
The group sought to determine how well the project had been implemented as well as how students and teachers have benefitted from ELP teaching and learning materials received over the course of the project.
OECS ELP Reading Specialist Lisa Sargusingh-Terrance stated that during the close to four years since the programme has been implemented the focus has been on teacher training and professional development coupled with other well thought out approaches to improved reading.
SOUNDBITE: “We have also been introducing into the classroom, a diversity of teaching and learning resources to improve reading. We have been enhancing the curriculum of the various Islands so that it can be more responsive to the needs of students coming out of the latest research on how it is that we should teach reading.”
Ms. Sargusingh made special reference to a need for the development of specific language policies which became apparent following the attempted implementation of the ELP programme with the nuances and language peculiarities of the Caribbean, for example St. Lucia and Dominica with their root in French Creole.
SOUNDBITE: “Our children come to the schools not really speaking an English language but speaking a home language, that has an English base or event a French base… So we have had to address that through the drafting of language policies to respond to the needs of our children.”
The reading specialist added that over the years there has been some marked improvement in the reading performance of children adding that she has high expectation that by the time the project reaches completion in September 2020, the built-in sustainability element will be reflected in student improvement overall.
SOUNDBITE: “What we want in the end is children who will be performing well in all subject areas, children who will achieve success in their lives and we know that if they have an early start, a good start in their reading they are going to be successful in other areas.”
According to Local ELP Focal Point Jacqueline Bassue It is hoped that the Ministries of Education in participating islands would continue to implement reading instruction in the way designed by the ELP and that the teacher training would be filtered into the classrooms and maintained.
ELP participating countries include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Lucia and Dominica as well as Advisory Meeting Host Country, St. Kitts and Nevis.
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