International Literacy Day is observed every year on September 8 to emphasize the significance of literacy, and raise public awareness of the need to promote literate individuals, communities and societies.
In observance of this day, primary schools across the country engaged in activities that encourage reading and writing, such as poetry and storytelling.
All Saints School in the Kings Park area of Belize City was no exception. Today Amandala spoke to Mrs. Therese Roches, the principal of All Saints, who said that their school is celebrating International Literacy Day with a literacy fair, which includes an exhibition.
As part of the day’s activities, each class carried out a special activity at their class level. There was also a display in the schoolyard, and children’s songs were played on loudspeakers. Many parents came in to be a part of the activities; which included dramatizations and reading to the children.
Although the school was abuzz with various activities happening at the classroom level, the principal said that they had roughly one week to put together the event.
Mrs. Roches told us that the purpose of their being a part of promoting International Literacy Day coincides with this year’s local theme; “Promoting Literacy for a Peaceful Belize”, and they believe that the only way forward is for our children to not only be literate, but properly educated, because they need to know how to read to further their education. “It’s all about promoting reading,” she said.
Amandala understands that the fair at All Saints School was made possible through the efforts of the Ministry of Education, the National Library Service and the faculty and staff of the school.
Nello Player, Belizean recording and performing artist, also took time out of his busy schedule to do some storytelling for the children. He told Amandala that the school called him and asked if he could do some reading for the infants and Standard 5 students, so he is basically “doing his part to assist the youths”. The award-winning artist said that he always tries to be there whenever events like this come up because it’s for a worthy cause, so he was there to support the school and students. He said that the students’ reaction was great because most of them are familiar with him and his music.
He also acknowledged that it’s a good feeling for the younger generation to know and appreciate what he’s doing as a musician. He noted that the students responded accordingly and they even asked him to sing a part of his songs as well. He thought that the storytelling was a good way to interact with them, and said that the children listened and they were happy that he was there.
Amandala also met popular radio personality, Terry Gordon, who is a parent of an Infant 2 student and said he had the honor and pleasure of reading for the Infant 2 students. Gordon said that he saw it necessary to make an effort to read to the children for three reasons; the first was, as he quoted one of the signs that was posted on the side of the school building, “The more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the smarter you grow”. Gordon said that’s what it’s all about for him. The second reason, he said, is because he encourages his children to read and thirdly, because his son, who is now a sixth form student, was once the story reading champion when he was attending All Saints.
We also had the privilege of hearing two short stories that were read by two Standard 4 students. The first story, entitled “David and Goliath”, was read by Desiree Vaccaro, who said that literacy helps people to communicate orally and through the written word. Antwan Bradley then read another short story named “Light Ship.”
International Literacy Day has been recognized in Belize for the past three years under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.