Book donation breathes LIFE into classroom libraries

| 27/03/2017
CNS Local Life

Ministry of Education officials; Cayman Prep, KPMG and LIFE representatives; and John A Cumber staff with students at book donation

(CNS Local Life): In what is believed to be the largest recorded donation of reading material to a government school, the charity Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE) organised a gift of more than 3,500 books to Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (SJACPS) in December last year. The contribution was the result of a partnership between LIFE, private firms KPMG and Walkers, and members of Cayman Prep’s high school Key Club and primary school student council.

The majority of books will go toward creating individual classroom libraries, which is part of LIFE’s efforts to give students greater access to reading materials, stated a Ministry of Education press release. The in-class libraries are part of a structured, independent reading programme and will also assist with LIFE’s paired-reading initiative.

The availability of reading materials is the first essential element in the creation of supportive literacy environments. Class libraries provide access to a range of levelled reading materials to stimulate and develop all students’ love of reading. Research has indicated that a child who reads voluntarily reads more often.

Almost 2,000 of the books were collected in a book drive organised by Cayman Prep and High School and another 700 were donated by Walkers through an internal campaign. KPMG then used volunteers from their staff to level and sticker the books so they could be distributed to the correct grade within the school.

Minister for Education Tara Rivers said of the donation: “It continues to be a real pleasure to partner with LIFE, Walkers, KPMG, and service organisations like Key Club. LIFE has consistently helped support reading development across government schools along with our other community partners. The money and time they have devoted is truly appreciated and will positively impact students at SJACPS.

“It is essential that students have a variety of interesting books that are readily available and easy to access. LIFE and their partners have just made it easier to put quality books into the hands of our students.”

In addition to levelled readers for the classroom, a significant number of hardcover books were donated to SJACPS’s library.

LIFE and the Ministry of Education are working on an initiative to establish in-class levelled libraries in every Key Stage 1 government classroom which covers years 1-3. LIFE and their partners have helped SJACPS move toward their goal of 15 books for every child and the charity is continuing to raise funds for their classroom libraries project.

Brad Wilson, literacy specialist in the ministry, said, “I would also like to thank LIFE for their partnership and support in this project to establish in-class levelled libraries at all government schools. This is an ambitious undertaking that, once completed, will make a tremendous impact in the lives of each student in the primary schools.”

Classroom libraries are one piece of the puzzle needed to support literacy instruction in the public school system. Marilyn Conolly, LIFE executive director, said, “In-class levelled libraries provide much needed books while children are still in the stage of ‘learning to read’ and prevent the later problems encountered when illiterate children are in high school and are ‘reading to learn’.

“LIFE remains committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading, while also providing successful literacy interventions through our many programmes and with the support of the community. Together we can ensure that all children will leave primary school with a love of reading.”

For more information on the classroom libraries project, email LIFE or call 938-6300

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Category: Books, Donations, Education, Primary School, Service Organisations

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