With the support of School Principal Mrs. Aurila Benjamin, Ms. Gustave went a step further in her support for the children. Utilizing the Teacher Resource Guide from Hands Across the Sea and the books provided by the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme (ELP), Ms. Gustave taught herself to conduct “Read Alouds” and proceeded to train community members in conducting “Read Alouds” on a weekly basis. “Read Alouds” offer instructive reading sessions that are a critical component in the ongoing reading development of children in Kindergarten to Grade 3. Not only do “Read Alouds” and consistent reading build strong language skills, they engender a love of reading, a love of learning, critical thinking, a strong vocabulary, and interest in a variety of topics.
To date, Ms. Gustave has conducted training with six community members in one-on-one sessions and plans to continue to assist parents/caregivers and community members to increase the reading activities for more early grade students within the community. Ms. Gustave stated:
“I created this ‘Read Aloud’ programme to encourage the children to continue reading at home and to keep them motivated while they are out of school. We want to ensure that when they come back to school in September, they will be well prepared. We have partnered with parents to conduct ‘Read Alouds’ at home with their children and are encouraging them to share recordings of the reading sessions for us to share on the Coulibistrie Primary School Library Facebook page.”
One of the recent recipients of the training, Ms. Pamela Laudat was very appreciative of the training and stated:
“I plan to use these skills to conduct ‘Read Alouds’ in the community and during Sunday School with Bible stories. I have always been interested in the welfare of the children of this community and I am keen to support their early reading development.”
About OECS/USAID ELP:
OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme is a Programme within the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission and was established in March 2015 to improve the reading skills of children in the early primary grades with the goal of providing a foundation for improved learning outcomes and enhanced opportunities for students in the six (6) independent Member States of the OECS (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines).
To date the ELP has achieved a number of tangible outputs with over 17,000 learners reached at the Primary level, over 1500 Grades K to 3 teachers supported through job embedded professional development, 1426 lessons observed and 1031 coaching sessions with teachers have been completed by ELP Coordinators. Further, 60 schools across the Member States have received development grants to support reading enhancement projects and 173,114 teaching and learning materials have been provided to 750 classrooms across the OECS. The OECS/USAID ELP will run through to September 2020 continuing to develop and implement impactful initiatives that advance early grade reading throughout the OECS.