Stony Hill Primary embraces Int’l Literacy Day
St Andrew school turning away students due to space constraints
STUDENTS OF Stony Hill Primary and Infant School were in high spirits yesterday as teachers led them in a day of reading.
In honour of International Literacy Day celebrated on September 8, the children participated in classroom reading sessions that included sharing several of their favourite stories.
This year’s activities were celebrated under the theme ‘Promoting Literacy for a World in Transition: Building the Foundation for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies’.
Shirley Williams, vice-principal of the school, told The Gleaner that the students were encouraged to bring their own reading material to not only read for themselves but to share with others throughout the day.
She recounted seeing teachers using TVs and projectors in their lessons to bring the stories to life, as she walked through the hallways in the early morning.
Williams applauded the initiative and stressed the significance of taking advantage of technology to interest children and to stimulate their interest for reading and learning.
“We are big on it (technology) here because it can be a little bit boring for them just to be turning pages when they have their devices ... but we encourage them to use their books [and] devices,” she said.
She claimed that, occasionally, in order to change up the traditional environment of a classroom, the pupils would be taken outside by their teachers to have lessons under a tree.
The reading exercises they conducted on Friday were a good start in the right direction, Williams said, noting that the school’s objective for the new academic year was to identify ways to boost its literacy levels.
“We want to ensure that the students who are reading below grade level [can] at least get up to grade level,” she said, revealing that 40 per cent of the school’s student population were reading two or more grades below the required standard.
According to a teacher at the school, some students were struggling to read, and teachers of students in grades four and above had to be reintroduced to the concepts of vowels, how to break down words into syllables, and how to sound out words in order to correctly call and read them.
Meanwhile, the institution is faced with spacing issues where they are having to turn back students.
There are a total of six grades and 11 classrooms, with only one classroom for grade six.
Grades two and three are completely packed, Williams said, and pointed to a nearby building as the possible solution to the problem.
The building, which has not been used in years, is owned by the Homestead Place of Safety and was offered to the school for use, Williams told The Gleaner.
But a lot of work needs to be done on the abandoned structure.
“We are waiting on the ministry (of education) to formally give a letter to them of acceptance [of the building] before we can go into it,” she said, adding that it would greatly satisfy the school’s immediate needs.