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Local priest engages pupils on World Read Aloud Day

The pupils of Nelson Street Boys’ RC had a special guest for World Read Aloud Day Wednesday, February 3 with Fr Mikhail Woodruffe O Carm, reading to a Standard Five class.

The school usually has a guest speaker visit on the Day to read for the boys but this year alternative arrangements were made because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fr Woodruffe kept the boys engaged with stories about the prophet Elijah and Daniel in the lion’s den.

“This year, we adjust and adapt to the new normal. It is no different as we still kept up tradition—this time virtually. Personally, I try to get male role models to read for the boys, show them reading can be cool,” Standard Five teacher Shaquille Julian told the Catholic News.

He went on to state literacy is important to boys as a gateway to success: “A child who can read is a child who has a really bright future.” Education has shifted to online and electronic devices are now part and parcel of the learning process. Julian said his students were reading more because devices are more appealing to them.

A check online shows that Trinidad and Tobago has been recording a high literacy rate—98-99 per cent for females and males for many years. There appears to be a gap though, which was revealed in the 1994 Adult Literacy Tutors Association and 1995 University of the West Indies National Literacy surveys. These showed 22-23 per cent of our people 15 years and up, were unable to cope with everyday reading and writing. This was almost 1 in 4 persons. Whether this gap has narrowed is unknown.

World Read Aloud Day was created by LitWorld with a mission of ‘Strengthening kids and communities through the power of stories’. The non-profit organisation was founded by US literacy expert Pam Allyn in 2007. It works “with a broad coalition of national and international partners to ensure that young people worldwide can experience the joy and transformation of reading, writing, and storytelling”. https://www.litworld.org/mission

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