A love for reading is fast growing among students at the Springer Memorial Secondary School that implemented a Reading Awards Programme four years ago.
On Monday, proud first formers collected their prizes after reading as many as 500 books in this year’s programme, which was held under the theme Reading: A Gateway To Success.
This year’s Best Overall Student was Keziah Taylor.
Other top achievers included Shaddia St John, who read 146 books; and Kayshie-Ann Clarke and Joie Greene, who each read over 50 books.
Teacher Francis Thompson, who piloted the programme in the 2011/2012 school year, told Barbados TODAY the initiative had opened a whole new chapter at the school.
“We have students who are now doing CXC literature in fourth form. All around there has been an improved academic performance because of the programme.”
The students are allowed to select the books they want to read and submit the list to their teachers. They are then required to present written and oral reports, and are also interviewed by teachers who judge their presentations to determine the top performers.
Awards feature speaker Chrystal Cummins-Beckles, educator, challenged the students to build on their love for reading, which she stressed played a critical role in academic success.
“Reading gives you knowledge of all things –– because in books, magazines, or newspapers, you can find information that is applicable in your everyday life,” Cummins-Beckles advised.
“Reading also provides entertainment . . . . Once you learn how to read, you will never put a book down until you finish it. It helps you learn about other people’s lifestyles, religion, culture and actions.”
The teacher lamented that too many children were captivated by technology and as a result had failed to develop critical language skills.
“In today’s society many children are raised by the television and video games. In my experience as a teacher, they lack imagination; simple writing tasks become a chore because their vocabulary is extremely limited. Communication skills in our children are lacking; therefore we must encourage them to read.”
Cummins-Beckles insisted that reading was not for “certain professions”, but was a must for anyone seeking to develop.
“In our world, every job requires someone who can read and write; every profession requires someone who can read –– whether it is a lawyer researching cases or merchandisers reading labels to pack on a supermarket shelf.
“I know some of you girls just want to be a hairdresser, or do nails; you need to read. Reading is just as important to you as a judge reading a verdict to a convicted person.”
Cummins-Beckles also urged parents to encourage their children to develop a love for reading.