The 2023 National Reading Competition champions were selected and awarded by the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) on Friday (August 25).
They are Portland’s Quain Raymond (6-8 age group), who was also the overall winner; St. Mary’s Denese Chambers (9-11 age group), and Johana McLeary (12-14 age group); Trelawny’s Brianna Frater (15-20 age group); and Clarendon’s Tashique Gibson (21 and over age group).
The awards ceremony, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, saw the champions, runners up and sectional winners receiving cash awards, trophies, books, tablet computers, hotel accommodations, and meal vouchers, among other prizes.
Chairman of the JLS Board, Paul Lalor, in his remarks, revealed that over 2,500 Jamaicans were engaged across the different age groups for this year’s renewal of the competition, representing a 38 per cent increase over the 2022 edition.
“It’s heartening to have this level of participation and we look forward to increasing those numbers as the years continue and we get further and further away from the 2020 and 2021 issues that the world faced,” Mr. Lalor said.
The theme for this year’s contest was ‘Reading is LIT’, which, according to JLS Director General, Maureen Thompson, resonated with the participants.
“The importance of reading as a life skill cannot be emphasised enough, and we have been doing this [competition] for 36 unbroken years,” she pointed out.
Among the new features this year was a financial literacy challenge by major sponsor, VM Foundation, and the introduction of poetry in the selection of material for the competition.
Entries for the contest were opened in April with the preliminary rounds to select the age group winners for the parish finals being staged at branch libraries.
The respective champions then advanced to the national finals.
The JLS is an agency of the Ministry of Education and Youth.
The National Reading Competition is its flagship programme which aims to develop good reading habits and analytical skills among Jamaicans.