‘Spend time with your children to help improve their reading skills’, says Education Minister

Minister Octavia Alfred

Education Minister Octavia Alfred has called on parents to read with their children to help improve their reading skills. Her call came while addressing the official opening ceremony of the 14th edition of the DBS Radio, Ministry of Education National Reading Competition held at the Berean Christian Academy in Bath Estate this week.

The competition will see participation of students between the ages of 8 and 10 from 56 schools across Dominica.

The competition comprises three rounds,  and students will be judged based on their reading from a narrative passage, news item, and a sports item.

The students who competed in the first round of the competition were Janae Robinson representing the Berean Christian Academy, Jeran Lawrence of the Christian Union Primary School, Sakeri-Leontyne Astaphan of the Convent Preparatory School, Ahjani Toussaint of the Ebenezer SDA Primary School, Ethan Anthony of the Petite Savanne Primary School, Kriston Blaize of the Pioneer Preparatory School, Cataleya Poponne of the Roseau Primary School, Zaida Capitolin of the St Martin Primary School and Carlise Harris of the St Mary’s Primary School.

“I want to send a little note to the parents, that you spend time with your children to help improve their reading skills,” Alfred said. “Read to your children, they are never too young and they are never too old.”

According to her, the Government of Dominica makes every effort to ensure that students have what is necessary to ensure that teaching and learning are effective and that every child succeeds.

“This includes conducive learning spaces, smart rooms, libraries, writing stations, and reading material,” Alfred explained. “We also make sure that our teachers receive training.”

Furthermore, Alfred pointed out that the Ministry of Education continues to see improvement in students’ reading at their grade level, “thus improvement in both local and regional assessment.”

She believes that when a teacher expresses concern to a parent about their child’s reading, “you need to take it seriously, because reading is a fundamental skill in helping us to convey information and it is an essential skill that’s developed at very early ages.”

Alfred added, “And if a child can read at class level by grade 4 you have won. All you have to do is develop on that, because research shows that a lot of newspapers those materials are written just about grade 4, grade 5 level.”

She said this means that if a child can read at grade 4 level that child can read a newspaper.

 Meanwhile, District Education Officer for the West, Carine Burnette reminded students of the profound impact that reading has on their lives, “shaping our thoughts and igniting our creativity.”

She also reminded students of the importance of reading.

“Let me remind you that reading is very important and you must develop a passion for it,” Burnette said. “Read anything, read comic books, read magazines, read story books, read newspapers, read fiction and non-fiction material.”

Moreover, she pointed out that children learn while being in the presence of books, “so surround yourselves with good books.”

Burnette also encouraged students to develop the habit of reading something new every day.

“Through books, you have the opportunity to explore new words and discover the beauty of different perspectives,” she stated.

Burnette believes that reading develops the mind, “the imagination, the creativity in you.”

“Cultivate a love for reading, because being able to read well means that you already have the competitive edge over the person who is unable to read,” she encouraged.

The competition’s organizers are continuing the legacy of Creole Icon, the late Felix Henderson whose vision was to encourage reading among Dominican children for today and tomorrow.

The competition is being held under the theme: “Reading and Creole”.

This year Dragon Windows is the headline sponsor of the competition.

The second round of the competition will be held in Grandbay today, with 10 participating schools.

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  1. Juanita
    April 17, 2024

    Alfred added, “And if a child can read at class level by grade 4 you have won. All you have to do is develop on that, because research shows that a lot of newspapers those materials are written just about grade 4, grade 5 level.”

    The problem is , the parents themselves must be able to read and express themselves clearly in English in order to be able to read to their children. And, it would be interesting to know the minister’s research sources that show that newspapers materials are written “just about grade 4, grade 5 level.”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  2. Bwa-Banday
    April 17, 2024

    Madame Pampalam, you need to go on a serious diet before you tou-fay one of these days. If diet and exercise does not help have your doctor prescribe Ozempic for you souplay.

    It can be said you have always been a large person but you are no longer young and bouncing like your old calypso name @ DGS the Bouncing-Bonnie implies. Get some help my lady because you had a hard time walking and talking the time we met. Take this as constructive criticism.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  3. George
    April 17, 2024

    So she’s unaware of the disturbing rate of adult illiteracy in Dominica?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

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