As Barbados celebrated World Read Aloud Day with the rest of the world, students of the Grantley Adams Memorial School today had their interest in reading reignited with local influencers reading to them.
Faces such as regional icon Father Philis, Quon the reigning Pic O De Crop Monarch, and celebrity Lisa Bailey showed up to read to first, second and third form students at the Blackman’s St Joseph School.
They gathered in the hall, sitting at the feet of the three influencers at different intervals to share in the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
The event was billed as A Celebrity Reading Relay and Father Phylis said he felt privileged to take part. “I’m very honoured to have a chance to come and give back to a school in Barbados. I would definitely like to attend more schools… This is an opportunity that any artist would be proud to have,” he said.
He described the ability to read as an important element in life and said it benefited him in his craft. “Reading is essential. I definitely did a lot of reading when I was younger that probably helped me to do what I’m doing now. Anytime I could help someone to take up some reading I definitely will,” he said.
Quon, who picked up the last leg of the relay, admitted how he grew from strength to strength in reading. “Reading was one of those things that I struggled with a lot in primary school, but it’s just something that you need that help with. You might feel like you’re not the strongest reader and that can be a major deterrent for a lot of things. Reading wasn’t my strong suit. However, my mother, and even Mrs Murray, who tutored me when I was younger, always pushed and encouraged me. It helped a lot because you can’t do much without reading these days,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Reflecting on how far he’s come, he said it was critical for him to participate. “Literacy is a very important topic. Sometimes it’s a touchy topic and we, as older people and teachers, sometimes neglect this area. For me it was important to come to Grantley Adams School and read to the students and just help out,” the aspiring teacher explained.
Teacher and coordinator of the day, Allyson Murray hailed the event as a major success. “This is our first opportunity to engage with these influencers and entertainers. I had a great time, and the children had a great time. The students had time to understand the importance of making text connections and it was just an absolutely wonderful event,” she said.
She assures that there will be other possible future events. “I am very passionate about literacy and special education and we will have people come to read with our students. There is much more to come,” she promised. (MR)