The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The an­nual Rain­for­est of Read­ing Festival or­ga­nized by One World School House Foun­da­tion was held in March 2016 at Castries and VieuxFort. This is the third year that the festival, with sup­port from St Lu­cia Elec­tric­ity Ser­vices Lim­ited (LUCELEC), has been held in Saint Lu­cia.

7,700 stu­dents from all 74 pri­mary schools on the is­land par­tic­i­pated in the read­ing festival. The ac­tiv­ity is en­dorsed by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and held un­der the pa­tron­age of H.E Gover­nor General Dame Pear­lette Louisy.

The Rain­for­est of Read­ing is open to stu­dents in Grades 3-5. The pro­gramme is de­signed to erad­i­cate il­lit­er­acy in the coun­tries where the festival is held, namely Gre­nada, Saint Lu­cia and Ne­vis. Or­ga­niz­ers say their in­ter­est was spurred by the in­fra­struc­ture dam­age caused by Hur­ri­cane Ivan and Hur­ri­cane To­mas as well as the eco­nomic im­pact of the global re­ces­sion on the re­gion.

LUCELEC Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager Roger Joseph says the One World School House Foun­da­tion's mis­sion of ed­u­ca­tion, youth em­pow­er­ment and ac­cess to tools – like read­ing – to guar­an­tee suc­cess is what com­pelled LUCELEC to sup­port this ini­tia­tive from in­cep­tion.

“We've sup­ported the read­ing festival over the past three years be­cause we rec­og­nize many of the chal­lenges at the up­per pri­mary and sec­ondary school level we're be­ing asked to as­sist in re­spond­ing to, have their ge­n­e­sis at the early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion level. We are also pleased that the festival fo­cuses on in­creas­ing lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy skills, key con­cepts and skills that should be grasped early on in a child's life cy­cle to en­sure they max­i­mize ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Joseph.

The One World School House Foun­da­tion places sets of twelve books from Cana­dian chil­dren's book au­thors into each par­tic­i­pat­ing school. Over a three week pe­riod, stu­dents read the books on their own and in class be­fore at­tend­ing the read­ing festival where they meet the book au­thors and par­tic­i­pate in a host of read­in­gre­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

A sec­tion of the march that started the 2016 Rain­for­est of Read­ing Festival spon­sored by


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