Each of the six Member States(MS) in the programme (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines), plan to sustain the core tenets of Early Grade Reading to ensure continued reading improvement in their countries. The OECS/USAID ELP National Focal Points through their individual Ministries of Education are taking up the mantle and developing three-year sustainability plans to build the literacy skills of the infant and primary students in the MS.
The primary tenets of the programme to be continued include:
- Establishment and utilization of a sound curriculum for reading in the early grades,
- Continued professional development of Grades K-3 teachers to ensure the development and continuation of excellent pedagogy and instruction for early grade readers,
- Formative assessment of the early grade students to ensure individualized instruction and planning for each early grade student and the development and implementation of a language policy.
These components of the OECS/USAID ELP are grounded in research and international best practices, and if implemented effectively will have positive results for literacy in the OECS. Included within the plan is a strong advocacy and national sensitization element to ensure that the Ministries of Education and the general public understand the value or early grade reading and how they can enhance and support this effort.
The OECS/USAID ELP will provide the support of a consultant to draft and finalise the plans for each Member State to be ready for October 2020. It is anticipated that with the development of these new plans, the Ministries, principals, teachers and parents will all have a strategy and guide to follow as they seek to institutionalize and build upon the early grade reading initiatives from the Early Learners Programme over the next three years.
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.