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Ninety-four schools across the OECS benefit from grants to improve literacy

CASTRIES, St Lucia — As part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Early Learners Programme (ELP) within the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission, small grants were provided under the project to support school-based reading intervention projects.

A total of ninety-four schools across the OECS have benefitted from school-based grants of which approximately 63 were specific to support reading improvement. A total of XCD $593,341.75 has been disbursed by the ELP as well as the OECS Education Support Project (OESP) to support schools.

The Canaries Infant School received XCD$8,070.00 in grant funding to establish a programme to make reading more interesting for boys of Grades One and Two. With boys underperforming girls over consecutive years and struggling to read, the Canaries Infant School took action, and implemented a series of innovative initiatives over six months, as they recognized that many male students are kinesthetic learners (learning through physical activities) and required a different approach.

Accordingly, the play approach was used on eleven boys, who were encouraged to learn through their senses to activate their brains. This was manifested through meaningful learning experiences where the boys actively engaged in hands-on literacy activities including; role-playing, the establishment of a literacy station, use of male themes such as superheroes, cars, trucks, and dinosaurs in the various reading activities and a male role model to support the various activities.

The results of these initiatives have been favorable with an improved reading by the male students within the programme observed by the teachers and an improvement from the standardized pre-test scores taken after the initiative. For the nine male students who took the standardized test, there was a 100 percent improvement in basic reading skills.

According to Janessa Felix, class teacher: “The project began last year and for sure we have already seen huge benefits. There has been an increased level of participation among the boys when it comes to reading and literacy activities. A higher level of confidence has also been noticed as well as a greater level of participation.”

OECS examination results across the OECS reveal that boys underperform girls in minimum standard testing and as a result, additional support for boys has become an important factor within the ELP work programme. The ELP and the individual Member States have instituted similar initiatives in the classroom to provide the young boys of the Caribbean with the added support they need to learn in a manner that is more effective for them.



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