Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Christophe Harbour Foundation facilitated a one-day workshop with teachers of the Sandy Point Primary School Monday to help develop literacy among primary school students.
The workshop is part of the Christophe Harbour and Hands Across the Sea’s effort to promote literacy and reading among student in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Jennifer Thrift, who was the lecturer of the workshop, gave media representatives some background into the program.
“The Christophe Harbour Foundation is supporting the Ministry of Education on all of the things they are supporting in the schools for literacy and technology,” she said. “This workshop was created based on that.”
She added that when they were in the federation two years ago, they visited five primary schools and decided to do this inaugural workshop.
“If it is successful, we will be able to provide this for other primary schools here in St. Kitts,” she said.
Thrift highlighted the objectives of the course, stating it was to provide a different learning environment to improve literacy in the classroom and to integrate technology provided by the Ministry of Education.
“We are talking about how to create lifelong readers,” she said. “I firmly believe that literacy is the key to education and my goal is to create an environment in these classrooms that provides lifelong reading for the children here in Sandy Point.”
Thrift said that research showed the literacy rate is very low and the group was attempting to change that.
“The first portion is going to be discussing how to read aloud to your children and how you can be good role models in your homes and in the classrooms,” she said. “[Then, we] break out into groups to create lessons to share with the children. I want you to be a role model for your children and to love literacy to create lifelong readers.”
She added the workshops will not be limited to the Sandy Point primary schools and they are looking to expand the initiative.
“We visited the primary schools first,” she said, “but I think the ultimate goal is to work with the Early Literacy Programme and to incorporate it into more schools.”
The Christophe Harbour Foundation worked with Hands Across the Sea to incorporate libraries in different schools.
“The Christophe Harbour Foundation firmly believes in the literacy of students of St. Kitts and Nevis,” Thrift said, “and you’re going to see them supporting the schools and helping schools to build literacy.”
Heidi Fagerberg, who works with Hands Across the Sea and is an author for Caribbean Reads Publishing, spoke to the media about a series of books she wrote that is expected to be used in the education curriculum across the entire OECS.
“I have written four books and the most recent one is called ‘The Crumb Bunch,’” Fagerberg said. “We try to use something that can be used across the curriculum.”
She added that in her latest book, children learn about the ground lizard’s scientific name and the correct name of the panther anole’s lizard.
“They know them, they see them and we call them lizards here, but now they know the scientific names,” Fagerberg said. “The book also speaks about what happens when a child lies and how can you get through the forgiveness stage and learn how to deal with it.”
She explained how the OECS became involved in using her books.
“They chose the four books because they are contextualized reading,” she said. “When a young child gets to see things they are familiar with, it is much easier for them to understand what the text is about.”
She added that Caribbean Reads Publishing has always published Caribbean writing only so that children can observe their own culture to encourage them to read.
“They get super excited when they see something they can relate to,” Fagerberg said.
Fagerberg’s books are being used in the Early Learners Programme also.