British Virgin Islands (BVI) – Deputy premier and minister for education, culture, youth affairs, fisheries and agriculture, Dr Natalio Wheatley has said that reading and critical analysis play an important role in preparing the Territory’s students to face the future.
Dr Wheatley’s comments come as educators and students across the Territory prepare to celebrate Reading is Fun Week 2020 under the theme “Read to Empower” from October 11 through 17.
The minister for education said: “Our students are the future of the BVI. Before long, they will take on the leadership mantle of this Territory. Therefore, it is important for them to start preparing now by focusing on their academics and exercise their reading skills.”
Dr Wheatley added, “Becoming avid readers will give them the competitive edge they will need to execute any job adequately and enable them to become critical thinkers who will take this Territory to the next level.”
Permanent secretary, Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe is encouraging teachers, students and parents to continue reading and embracing literacy. She noted, “Reading is Fun Week is a great opportunity to really demonstrate the pleasures and benefits of reading. Everyone should become involved in the activities scheduled for the week because it helps to develop a culture of reading. That is our goal in the BVI. We would like everyone to become avid readers.”
Stoutt-Igwe commended educators for their efforts as they continue to instill the love for reading in students. She stated: “Teachers continue to model good reading habits for your students; develop a wide vocabulary for reading and speaking. Ask probing questions that will make students think and prompt further research and discussion. As this year’s theme, Read to Empower suggests, our students need to be reminded that reading unlocks their imagination and possibilities.”
Acting chief education officer, Connie George appealed to parents to continue their partnership with the schools to foster the love of reading in students while at home. George said, “You can help by finding fun, interactive ways to continue the work done in the classroom which will foster the love for reading. Help students learn their sight words. Talk with them. Provide fun learning experiences at home or on vacation that they will always remember. Get a book and read with them, make it a family activity until reading becomes an everyday practice that children cannot do without.”
The week will be declared opened with a virtual ceremony to be aired live on Facebook on Sunday, October 11 at the New Life Baptist Church at 3:00 p.m.
The week’s activities include ‘Book the Town’ which will see the DeCastro Drive-in Road Town decorated with a poster display of favourite books. The public is invited to join by printing and laminating a poster with a picture of their favourite book and a few words about the text.
A round table discussion will be aired on community chat on Tuesday, October 13 where selected students will discuss a local book and share local poetry. Book Talks and Book Report sessions will also be held where teachers and students will read and discuss a locally written book. Students will also share information about their favourite book.
The main objective of Reading is Fun Week is to spark a love and interest in reading through fun activities. The week will feature several activities aimed at promoting reading at all grade levels in the Virgin Islands.
All principals are asked to find creative ways to celebrate Reading is Fun Week within each school.