ST LUCIAN educators are now better able to strategically use library books and resources in their lessons to support the development of their students’ reading and literacy skills.
Last week a wide cross section of educators successfully completed a Teachers’ Resource Guide Workshop hosted by the non-profit organization Hands Across the Sea in collaboration with the Early Learners Program. The programme was executed with support from the Sandals Foundation along with the Ministry of Education and took place at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa.
Participants included 26 classroom teachers from Saint Lucia Sports Academy (previously Gros Islet Secondary), Babonneau Secondary, Patricia James Secondary (previously Vide Bouteille), Bocage Secondary, Clendon Mason Secondary, Stanley Jon Odlum Secondary, C. A. R. E, AnseGer Secondary, Ciceron Secondary, Grande Rivière, Piaye Secondary and Soufriere Secondary.
Attendees explored a Teachers Resource Guide (TRG) to the Library which shares strategies to motivate students to read at school and at home. The publication was developed by a wide cross section of OECS Educators and affiliates to Hands across the Sea as well as other international stakeholders. Copies were distributed to the island’s primary and infant schools in 2018.
Hannah Knecht, Program Director at Hands across the Sea and workshop facilitator says “the teaching tactics are aimed at building within students, a lifelong interest in reading.”
She further says that “the workshop highlighted to teachers, how to integrate books into their lesson plans across the curriculum by sharing practical activities with books from their libraries that they can use with their students in hands-on, engaging, and meaningful ways.”
Teachers, Knecht noted, “were also provided with evidence to show the direct correlation between pleasure reading habits and increased student achievement.”
Caius Mauricette, Special Education teacher at the Stanley Jon Odlum Secondary School explained, “Overall, the workshop facilitated a greater connection and a collaborative approach to the teaching of reading and other core elements of literacy. It created a network for teachers to share and build knowledge and ideas, and to impart evidenced based literacy sessions with the students entrusted in our care. It is believed that the objectives of the workshop were achieved as many educators demonstrated how to use the kits for remedial reading, including evidence-based reading strategies.
Students, especially lower secondary learners have demonstrated an improved awareness and aptitude in their ability to spell, read and express their ideas in a written manner following exposure to the integrated lessons using the “Decode” and “Develop” readers.”
Sandals Foundation has supported the Hands Across the Sea project since 2013. In that time, over US$90,000 has been invested to fund upgrades and purchase new age appropriate books for 28 libraries in the Eastern Caribbean.
The Sandals Foundation, Clarke says, “Is committed to continue working alongside Hands Across the Sea to improve literacy levels for students of all ages as we believe that reading is the foundation for success in all other areas of students’ academic life setting them on the path for prosperous futures.”