The Ministry of Education on Friday launched the Atlantic Reader Series Books 1-6 at the Redeemer Primary School.
The collection is a series of locally produced text books designed to accelerate learners’ literacy acquisition at the primary level.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickhand said the literacy resources will contribute to the overarching goal of ensuring literate children by Grade 4
“So today, we hope with the launch of this Atlantic Reader series, we hope to remove ourselves quickly from that 52 per cent of children around the world who are not reading at an appropriate grade level,” she said.
Minister Manickchand noted that even though an allocation of $1.2 billion is included in this year’s budget to purchase text books for students through funding from the oil and gas sector, the PPP/C Government had always been funding the cost of text books.
“But then we were not an oil producing country, we considered the children of this country and their ability to read and what that would mean to them individually, in their families in their communities and for us as a country a priority, and we found ways to write the book, as well as print the book, and give it to each child…Last year without oil money, we found money to buy for every single primary school Grade 6 public school child all the text books they needed,” she said.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Huston also stated that this series of books was produced after brief research was done years ago to determine the level of literate students in the early primary education programme
“So, this is not something today, it’s a work in progress, and minister asked us to do that. Now after that happened, we had to now search for ways to mitigate the poor performance, we had to now search for ways to improve this poor performance and so it was the brain child of the minister, she commissioned the writing of the Atlantic Readers in 2012,” he noted.
Minister Manickchand also noted that the Atlantic Reader series will be translated into Spanish to accommodate the Spanish speakers in Guyana and also the Wapichan and other locally-spoken indigenous languages.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Literacy) Samantha Williams explained that the idea of the Atlantic Reader series was born in 2012 and entrusted to local writers to meet the “cultural complexities” of Guyana, while considering the “demographic uniqueness” of all Guyanese children.
“They are designed to move the Guyanese learners across a reading continuum to enable them to become skillful readers,” she stated.
The book series used a thematic approach to address the challenges with reading while maintaining critical life skills development by incorporating elements of health and family life education. Additionally, the books show teachers how to integrate reading with the other subject areas to provide multiple opportunities for learners to acquire similar concepts.
Many educators including education specialist in education global practice, Ms. Ingrid Bjerke from the World Bank lauded the ministry on the launch of the huge step in seeking to address illiteracy in the education sector.
The Atlantic Reader series is a critical part of the ministry’s line-up of educational tools. It combats the challenges that have historically affected children’s ability to excel in literacy.