Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reading at Granville All Age School, St. James

Granville All Age School, St. James, not to be confused with a school of the same name in Trelawny, is on the left-hand side of the main road, a short distance after the gates to Sam Sharpe Teachers' College, in the community of Granville on the outskirts of Montego Bay. All Age schools in Jamaica have grades 1 to 9. In grade 6, the children take GSAT, the results of which place some of them in high schools. The others stay in the All Age schools for grades 7 - 9 when they sit another test to get into a high school.

A classroom block

The school has a clean, freshly painted look, and many beautiful murals. There was no garbage in sight, for which the Principal and staff should be congratulated, considering the general untidiness of the streets of Montego Bay. It was also quiet. This you may think is how schools should be, but compared with several city schools I have visited, that is not always the case.

My reading there on Tuesday, April 24, was part of GraceKennedy Limited and Western Union's National Reading Week, under the theme, 'Today's Readers, Tomorrow's Leaders'. Granville All Age being the school chosen for St. James.
The same classroom block from the front at lunchtime.
I read to class 6R whose room is upstairs at the far end of the block in the photo. As usual, I took my frog and my pot to dramatize the first page of Delroy in the Marog Kingdom. This was the first time I was reading to a class without their teacher being present (she had gone to a meeting), but even so, they were quiet and attentive. After the reading, I was given a heart-warming vote of thanks by the head girl, Tyasha James.

I thank the principal, Mrs. Brown, for affording me the opportunity of visiting her school and reading to some of her students.

Container Garden
Outside the computer room.
Administrative block.


Pamela K Witte said...


What a lovely school! Lucky you. Sounds like a terrific day for you and Delroy. I'm curious about the kid's reactions.

Did you have any discussion/question & answer time? Did you get more reaction from girls than boys?

Did you tell them about RANA coming soon?

Helen said...

We did have some discussion, questions coming from girls and boys about equally. The usual questions: "Where can you buy the book?" "Is it going to be made into a movie?" (I wish!!). I told them about the sequel to Delroy and there was a strong positive reaction to the the title: "Delroy and the Marog Princess".

Natalie said...

Thanks for posting this, Helen. It is a struggling - as well as dwindling - school with a lot of potential. The principal is really invested in trying to make the most of whatever resources she has access to. Glad she got Granville onto the roster for Reading Week.

I should note that the district of Granville is not on the outskirts of Montego Bay. That would be a better description of Salt Spring, Glendevon, and even Mt. Salem. The district is located about 8 miles inland from the city, and in a more rural setting. So comparing its condition to that of the city isn't really fair. Plus, like many other schools in Jamaica, the staff put a lot of emphasis on having a clean schoolyard. It's been this way since I was a child. Anything else will simply not do.

I'll be sure to create some exercises based on the book for when I visit the school in a few weeks; I'm sure they'll remember the book. Were you able to donate a copy to the school's Reading Resource Room?

Weather Anchor Mama said...

I attended this school years ago!

Weather Anchor Mama said...

I'm so glad I've come across your site. I wish there was a way to contact you directly. I'm looking for Jamaican children's books for my 2 year old and my little one on the way. I'm from Jamaica, but would like to expose them to book from Jamaica. Can you please help? I also write for a few sites and would love to interview you. Please get in touch with me.

Helen said...

Thank you Weather Anchor Mama. Nice to hear from you. I could recommend The Little Lion Series by Kellie Magnus and Dotty Beetle Books by Sharon Martini. (She has a website).
Could you send me a message through facebook? My fb name is Helen Billy Elm Williams. Use my regular page, not my fan page which would give problems. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Marcelous M Johnson, DHSc,MHA,RRT said...

I've attended this school when I was a child. Is there a direct line to the current principal of this school so that i may commit to financial donation to the school's improvement? I can be reached directly at 508-837-7602. In addition, if it is easier to communicate via e-mail, my e-mail address is Please help me to help them in any way I can. I feel it is my responsibility to help these kids so they may have the potential and opportunity that was given to me for success. Thanks in advance.

Helen said...

Dear Dr. Johnson, I am heartened by the fact that your reading of this blog post has enabled you to make a connection through which you can make a financial donation to the improvement of your former school. I will contact you by email as soon as I get a response from the school's principal. Do you know if the school has a 'virtual' past students' association in the diaspora? Several past students have responded to this blog post, as you can see.