Saturday, 24 December 2011

New Jamaican initiative in family literacy aimed to get parent reading to babies

Author: Athaliah Reynolds, JIS Reporter
Title: PM Encourages Parents, Particularly Fathers, To Read with Children
Source: Jamaica Information Service
Date: MONDAY, 19 DECEMBER 2011

The article reports on a speech by the Prime Minister and Education Minister addressed to parents during a
handing over ceremony of Bookstart Jamaica ‘book packs’, at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Paediatric Clinic, on Monday, December 19. What the Bookstart Jamaica project is about is outlined as well as the objectives of the programme and the vision for it to give parents and families a place in raising the literacy level of future students. Essentially the programme entails Jamaican parents of babies getting books from the government as part of an encouragement for parents to read to their children.

Bookstart Jamaica is part of the Ministry of Education’s new family literacy initiative, which aims to create a nation of readers and encourage an early start to family literacy activities. Each Bookstart Jamaica ‘book pack’ has a locally developed board book suitable for infants, and information about the Jamaica Library Service, its locations and family programmes, including ‘We Likkle but We Tallawah’ - parents reading with infants and toddlers Bookstart Jamaica companion programme.

Mr. Holness noted that the programme was established as part of the Ministry’s National Literacy Strategy, as it was found that many Jamaican children were entering the school system unprepared.
“This places us at a disadvantage, because teachers now have to do the work that parents should have done as a natural part of their parenting responsibility. When we examined what was happening in the households, we realised that many parents did not understand the importance of early reading with their children,” the Prime Minister said.
He informed that the objective of Bookstart  is to provide parents with books at the earliest stage, “so that when the programme is fully implemented, every Jamaican child born in a hospital in Jamaica will be presented with a package.”

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