JIS: Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Lady Allen, officially launched the 2018 staging of the ‘Western Union I Pledge (Reading) Programme’ on April 27, at King’s House.
The objective of the programme, launched for the 12th consecutive year, is to promote and encourage the nation’s youth in each parish to continuously read for their individual growth and development.
Activities of the programme will take place in numerous schools across the island during the month of May, when Jamaica celebrates Child Month, Education Week and Read Across Jamaica Day on May 8.
In her remarks at the launch, Lady Allen, who was a teacher for 18 years, reiterated that reading should always be considered as important for the development of each youth in the country, and it is through reading that good leadership skills are developed.
“I learnt long ago, a little gem that says ‘One who reads, leads’. Books can give you counsel and wisdom when you need it most. Through history, biographies of remarkable men and women tell us that most of them became great because of the inspiration they got from reading books, especially during their childhood days,” Lady Allen said.
She added that the 2018 theme of the programme: ‘Winning with Reading’ captures the essence of the gem.
“It also speaks to how reading can inspire, empower and boost one’s confidence to achieve greatness,” she said.
The 2018 staging of the Western Union I Pledge (Reading) Programme will include a new social media aspect for participants to read to children and make posts of the activity with images and videos on their social media pages, and then tag others to do the same.
Lady Allen said she is pleased to witness technology being incorporated in the Programme, in addition to its previous initiatives of face-to-face reading with youth, and competitions.
“The constant evolution of technology has influenced the way children read. Now, they can do so with the use of audio books and electronic books, which are available on electronic devices,” she said.
“Although technology has changed the way we read, the ability it has to inspire and provide knowledge is unchanging,” Lady Allen added.
For her part, Chief Executive Officer, GraceKennedy Money Services, Ms. Michelle Allen, said her organization, title sponsor of the Western Union I Pledge (Reading) Programme, is pleased to satisfy the requests to have social media incorporated in the programme.
“The social media campaign to this programme is very exciting for me… We’re going to ask you [participants and members of the public during the month of May] to do two things. You’re going to challenge someone, as the bucket challenge, to read to a child or children for 30 minutes. We’re then going to ask you to post and tag on your favourite social media handle, using the hashtags #GKMSOnline and #IPLedge2018 or #GKMSIPledge,” Ms. Allen said.
“So, challenge someone to nominate another to keep the reading going, so Reading Week will not last one week [in May], but instead it will last one month,” she said.
CAPTION: Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Lady Allen (left), reads to children at King’s House on Friday (April 27), after launching the 2018 Western Union’s I Pledge (Reading) Programme.