JIS: The Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic (JIRC) is calling on corporate Jamaica to come on board and donate books and other resources to its week-long islandwide reading camp in July.
The camp, which is expected to cater to some 1,500 children between six and 17 years old, will run from July 24 to 28 and will be held at 15 locations across the 14 parishes.
Executive Director of JIRC, Santana Morris, said there is an ongoing book drive to acquire material to be used for ‘reading corners’ at each location.
She explained that the camp will be targeting children in need of literacy intervention and will address the five main components of literacy – fluency, comprehension skills, vocabulary development, phonemics and phonological development.
Literary specialists and principals have been engaged to recommend students most in need of the intervention. Registration forms will also be available online for parents to register their children for participation.
“JIRC is a strategic, non-profit, innovative initiative that was created to help students master the art of reading. We gather trained literacy specialists across the island to create special programmes to help students who are having literacy challenges, who are from a low financial background, and others who might even just want to read above their grade level,” Ms. Morris said.
The JIRC Summer Reading Camp was first held in 2016 in seven parishes.
“This year, we will be having a mixture of activities, including an edutainment package, where we will be inviting different professionals to come in and to speak to the students about why literacy is important and how it applies in their work and field,” she said.
She said this is to include nurses, doctors, security personnel, skilled labourers and others from the community, who will demonstrate the value of literacy in their everyday work.
“We will be focusing on promoting literacy in our communities. Teachers and the Ministry of Education cannot do it alone, so we have to come together as a nation to help our students to master reading and to eradicate illiteracy in our country,” she said.
Children will be screened at the start of the camp to ascertain their level of need and be assigned accordingly.
The Executive Director said some 800 volunteers, including 300 teachers, have been accepted to help in the teaching and running of the camps.
She explained that the JIRC aims to use culturally relevant books and material to help the youngsters relate to the lessons.
The programme is also looking to utilise digital solutions to help children learn to read.
“We are hoping to get sponsorship for tablets or laptops that will aid in delivery this year. This will help students develop literacy and create a better foundation for lifelong learning,” she said.
The National Youth Service (NYS) has offered to collaborate with the JIRC to provide a stipend for volunteers from the age of 17 to 29.
Information on how to donate can be found at the website: www.jamaicaintensivereadingclinic.com and on the JIRC Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.
CAPTION: Executive Director of the Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic (JIRC), Santana Morris.