Features — 14 February 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Interactive DVD is launched to encourage youngsters to read

Primary school students from different parts of the city flocked to the interior of the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts this morning, to be participants in the launch of a children’s DVD known as It’s Story Time.

The initiative – which is the brainchild of Bel-Caribe Communications – is slated to engage young students in reading and comprehension through a variety of short stories which will provide primary school children with the opportunity to hear the reading of a text, while encouraging their ability to listen to stories.

The executive producer of the project is Sandra Mahler, and she told us that the DVD of children’s stories – which took six months to compile – will play a special role in drawing in young, reluctant readers to be more receptive to what books can offer. She explained, “It’s a DVD consisting of children stories taken from the Ministry of Education’s curriculum. It has taken us roughly six months to produce because most of the times we had to do it on weekends when the children were out of school. All the children on the DVD are from local primary schools still presently engaged in school. It was difficult, but it was a learning experience for the children and for ourselves because while working with these children, we were able to bring out talent that these children didn’t know they had within and at the same time, they learnt from us and we learnt from them.”

Deputy Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, mentioned that the DVD could be used as a means of assisting primary school children to have fun, while building their self-esteem and developing their creative skills. Babb said, “This DVD will assist tremendously for children. As you know, there are lots of benefits of telling stories to children. It builds their self-esteem, it builds their self-confidence, and it’s a lot of fun for them. It lends itself to language development. Children learn words; they develop their vocabulary.

It is also a time for bonding between parents and teachers. It gives children an opportunity to express themselves. They use their creativity, they use their imagination, and I can go on and on with the number of benefits. But certainly, the Ministry of Education is supporting this issue because we know that telling stories and reading stories aloud has a lot of benefits for the development of our young people. Definitely we will support initiatives like this. We have a literacy unit and we really value stories and reading aloud to students, so we are going to encourage students to use this video to encourage more story telling.”

The interactive DVD of children’s stories has been narrated in English and includes Kriol stories written by Myrna Manzanares. Eleven of the stories were taken from the Ministry of Education’s school curriculum. The DVD is targeted towards readers ranging from early learners up to Standard 3 students – which are in general children within the 4-11 age range. The book includes stories such as “Miles the Fireman”, “Herbert Finds a Home”, “The Three Little Pigs” and “Little Fish”, which are primary school favorites.

Bel-Caribe hopes that by creating and publishing this DVD, students will be persuaded not only to peer into textbooks on a more frequent basis, but to dream big, listen and learn.

According to Mahler, it is a different form of learning using the same material.

The producers want to make the interactive DVD available to all primary school students across the country.

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