National Literacy Department launches ‘Read Guyana Challenge’

The Ministry of Education-National Literacy Department launched the Read Guyana Challenge initiative aimed at building the literacy competency of Guyanese by improving their reading and writing capabilities and reignite their passion for reading.

The launch was held on Sunday at the Literacy Extravaganza hosted at St Stanislaus Sports Ground, Carifesta Avenue.

Delivering remarks, Assistant Chief Education Officer (ACEO) for Literacy, Samantha Williams said all citizens are encouraged to participate by reading and compiling book reports from five books. 

ACEO for Literacy, Samantha Williams

“There are five Mondays in the month of May and so, we want everyone to read five books or stories in the month of May. It is not just about reading these books and say ‘I have read them’. We want you to be able to respond to what you have read in those books,” she explained.

Williams noted that the challenge will be an ongoing initiative and has been long in the making.

“One of the biggest setbacks, for us, was having that mechanism of being able to do it across the entire country. We felt that just doing it at one grade will not send the important message of ensuring everyone learns to read, develops that love for reading; and they are not just reading but building those communication skills by responding to our book report format,” she added.

The reading challenge will be an ongoing initiative that will help the ministry to implement another programme that will require students to read a prescribed number of books within a term. 

“Let’s say, for example, we say for the primary level, we want you to read 12 books in the first term which is the Christmas term. It means they will have to read 12 books and do 12 book reports format…If you want to call it like the trial to see how we are able to get them to do this five in one month and the lessons learnt from that will help us to strengthen that initiative that is coming up soon in the new academic year,” Williams explained. 

Students reading at the Literacy Extravaganza event

The reading materials, which will be posted every Sunday are fun and engaging for the participants, and will be made available through the schools, media, newspapers, and the education ministry’s Facebook page.

“On Monday, everyone across Guyana has access to that story for the week and we want you to read with us. The story will have attached to it in a book report format. So, we want you to be able to tell us what you thought about the story and also to build your skills in writing and responding to text.”

Persons are expected to benefit from skills including reading fluency, summary writing, expressing opinions and feelings about the writer’s message, recalling details and facts related to the text, and building and expanding vocabulary, among others.