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Ministry of Education is making literacy a national priority

Today, the Ministry of Education launched literacy as a national priority. The theme for the initiative is “literacy an essential skill for social participation”. Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer, addressed those assembled at the opening ceremony.

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education

“We invest in ensuring our students are literate we will have safer communities and our students will contribute to national development. I want to end off by reminding you that our goal is to ensure that each child reads at their grade level. There are a number of educators here and educators believe that each child can learn. So if each child can learn with the collaborative effort each child can learn to read and write. So today we are all re-confirming that we will put our efforts together to make sure that children can read and write well. Please be reminded that literacy counts from day one in the classroom and beyond and lays the foundation for a child’s success in school and life.”

Dr. Rose Bradley, a Consultant for the Ministry of Education, noted that illiteracy has a direct connection to poverty and crime. In her address, Bradley shared on the Lever of Success Program that is being piloted in selected schools.

Dr. Rose Bradley, Consultant, Ministry of Education

“The work in these 13 schools will facilitate the development of a model that will be recommended for adoption in other classrooms across the country of Belize. So what has been done to date to improve literacy instruction in these schools? All lower division classrooms within the 13 schools now have a classroom library with age-appropriate picture books, chapter books and leveled readers to accommodate small guided reading groups and independent reading. Additionally, teachers are receiving continuous on the job training and support from the coordinators to help improve the teaching of language and literacy. More teachers understand the value of reading to students and are encouraged to read to students, model and teach reading strategies, engage students in critical thinking conversations, as they teach vocabulary through reading and writing across subject areas. A major accomplishment is an introduction to reading assessment and the collection and interpretation of students reading performance data which is used to drive teaching and learning. The focus of the test is on reading fluency and comprehension, two important learning outcomes that will be used to measure the success of this intervention.”

Bradley said that well-educated students will be able to contribute to the development of the nation.