Breadnut Hill Primary highlights programme that motivates students in raising literacy skills

lit a blaze

Janelle Christie

The aim of motivating students to improve and maintain their literacy skills was achieved and highlighted at the Breadnut Hill Primary’s Lit-A-Blaze 2017.

Lit-A-Blaze is a part of the school’s plan to improve literacy. This competition is aligned with the Ministry of Education’s 2020 vision of 100% literacy in schools.

This year’s competition was held at the school in Breadnut Hill St Ann, on Tuesday, May 30. Students were presented with their awards, in each category, following the finals on that day.

Four students were selected from each class, grades one to six to compete in the finals for spelling, reading, writing and comprehension activities.  Prior to that final selection, inter class competitions were held and the finalists chosen.

Vice principal of the school, Sherron Minott told the North Coast Times that the students who were selected are not necessarily those students who are “on top of the class”. They are, however, selected based on their activities and performance in class. She says that students who started out weak and have progressed were given the opportunity to participate, in order to keep them motivated to continue doing well.

The competition was opened to those persons who were interested to see what the students were taking part in.

Mrs Minott added that this competition is very significant to the school as parents, teachers and students look forward to it.

“It is a high point on the school’s calendar, students look forward to it,” she said.

Apart from the competition, students are engaged in literacy activities on a weekly basis. New words are introduced to the students during the course of the week through reading and writing and on Friday afternoons they are challenged to spell these words.

The event was financed from fundraisers which were held during the school year.

Mrs Minott says since the competition was initiated in 2012 there has been significant improvement in the literacy passes. The school now boasts an 88% pass rate in this area. “We have been progressing well,” Ms Minott said.

The Lit-A-Blaze competition was organized by members of staff who formed a literacy committee. Ms Minott is the coordinator of the committee which has two other members, Reiness Marsh and Nadine Smith-McLaughlin. All the teachers at the school then worked together to execute the plans of the committee.

According to Ms Minott, majority of parents and some persons from the community were supportive and assisted in making the day a success. Past principal, Rose Gowie-McLean returned to the school on that day, not as an educator but as a judge. Parents and residents also served as judges of the various competitions.

Although some financial challenges were faced along the way, the team still managed to address the issue for the sake of the children. Ms Minott spoke of “the joy it brings especially to be doing it in Child’s Month” she also said it means a lot to see the students “enthused knowing that they did their best and were able to get their trophies at the same time”.