JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says that the ability of children to read and develop critical thinking skills from an early age is essential for ensuring positive learning outcomes.
“Our students have to be able to read, interpret and apply concepts and explain themselves in a written form. This is a skill set that is at the very core of success in education,” he said.
He noted that as students prepare for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), reading and self-directed learning will enable them to apply knowledge acquired.
Senator Reid was speaking at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reads Capacity Programme Early Reading Conference held on September 27 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The programme seeks to increase the impact, scale and sustainability of early-grade reading interventions in the LAC region through the development and dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge resources and the provision of technical assistance to governments and other key stakeholders.
Senator Reid commended the conference organisers, noting that the event provides an opportunity to stimulate public enthusiasm for reading and to improve early-grade reading in early-childhood institutions across the island.
“The importance of getting children interested in reading and really enjoying books at an early age cannot be overstated. This is crucial to their developmental ability to understand words, use their imagination and develop their speech,” he added.
Held under the theme ‘Get Reading Right from the Start,’ the conference facilitated discussions for the crafting of an early-reading policy, and to launch an ‘Early Reading Community of Practice’ among stakeholders across the LAC region.
It also looked at methods to advance effective and inclusive early-grade reading methods and strategies, and examined some of the issues coming out of research findings on early-grade literacy in Jamaica undertaken during the period 2015 to 2016.
The conference targeted key personnel from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; pre-school and early-grade teachers; college and university lecturers; researchers; parents; writers; publishers and other stakeholders.
CAPTION: Senator, the Honourable Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information