Friday, September 14, 2012

Presenting Books donated by #1 Love Medusa Reunion

At Mt Alvernia Prep with Mrs. McPherson, Principal and Mrs. Frazer
 In July, persons visiting for Jamaica 50, donated copies of Delroy in the Marog Kindom to the school they used to attend, or another school of their choice. Now that the new school year has started, I had an incentive to arrange visits to schools to deliver the books. My first stop was Mount Alvernia Preparatory School where I presented books donated by Richard Lam and Robert Chin. There I talked to teachers about their book club and the problems that Jamaican and Caribbean authors have in getting their books known about and into schools.

With Mrs. Forrester
 On Thursday,  Sep 6, I visited St. James Preparatory School, where I read to Grade 6 from Delroy in the Marog Kingdom. The childen obviously enjoyed the excerpts and were full of questions. I presented to their teacher, Mrs. Forrester, the copies donated by Karen Lue and Audrey Tenn.

With Mrs. Dalley
The following day, which was being celebrated as International Literacy day, I read to grades 5-5 and 5-6 at Corinaldi Avenue Primary School. They too enjoyed the reading and I was sorry I didn't have more time to spend with them. I presented to Mrs. Belinda Dalley, Literacy Specialist, the book donated by Justin Lue.

Mr. Jones receiving a book
Monday, Sept 10, saw me at Barracks Road Primary School, where I spoke to the students at assembly about the importance of reading. I presented to Mr. Jones, Principal, the book donated by Pam Morris. After the presentation I visited all five grade 1 classes, each with forty-five students (down from fifty the previous year!). My message to them was that they should (1) read as much as they could; (2) study their spellings and (3) ask for help if needed. A few years ago, I would have put less emphasis on spelling, but given the inconsistencies of spelling and pronunciation in the English language, I have realized that studying spellings is a reliable way of learning to decode words, which after a period of time a child will recognize instantly.  However, it's not much use telling a child to study spellings if, when he gets home, he can't decipher the words on the list. Hence my suggestion to ask for help.
   I spoke for about ten minutes to each class, but even for that short time, I was unable to hold all their attentions. I don't think I had the attention of some of them at all. It was the first time I had been asked to give a 'pep-talk' to six-year-olds. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to read them a short story, with props, to illustrate that reading is to be enjoyed, and have a short Q & A session.  Given the number of children who have to be accommodated in limited space, I don't think the teachers have much option but to teach the children in the way that they do, but for some of the boys, this is clearly not best way to interest them in education. More opportunity for free movement and hands-on activities might suit them better.
   The final presention, for the time being, was made by Mrs. Fay Chin to Mrs. Campbell, Principal of Chetwood Memorial Primary School. This is the school where I volunteer to assist with reading - more about that in another post.
Mrs. Fay Chin donating my book to Mrs. Campbell at Chetwood.


Anonymous said...

Great work, Helen. Congratulations! Keep it up.

Helen said...

Thank you, Diane.