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More Jamaican child-friendly books needed

BY SHENEKA DIAS Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010    

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VICE-PRESIDENT of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) Kellie Magnus has urged book publishers to concentrate on creating material more suited for Jamaican children.

"We need to start trying to create books for Jamaican children that will feed their love for reading," said Magnus, who was speaking at a Carlong Publishers Limited book donation ceremony at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library on Friday.

"We have so much culture, so much creativity in this country that we can capture and put on the page to make it exciting for our children. My belief is that as an industry we need to set that example on the page and use that to drive their creativity, reorient them to our country's culture... and use books as a tool for national development in every interpretation of the phrase," added Magnus.

More than 50 basic schools, including Waterford and Mamby Park, will benefit from thousands of books donated by Carlong as part of its 'Make Every Child a Reader: Early Childhood Campaign'.

Guest speaker at the event, Special Advisor in the Ministry of Education Dr Rebecca Tortello, encouraged parents to get their children to start reading at an early age. She observed that parents needed to work harder at home in order to fuel children's natural desire to learn and help them become emergent readers.

She said that this can be done by creating traditions in reading, exposing children to new vocabulary, enhancing the child's narrative skills, and encouraging children to write.

"The Ministry of Education needs and wants our parents to see just how important reading is to learning. We want our teachers to remind parents of this, support them in this endeavour as much as they can," she said.

She stressed that literacy was one of the most fundamental human rights and is essential to all forms of learning.

"It's freedom. Freedom from poverty, unemployment, disease, ignorance and oppression. It not only equips individuals with necessary life skills and skills for further learning, but literate parents are more than likely to send their children to school, and literate persons are more than likely to interact in public," she said.

She congratulated Carlong Publishers for their dedication to Jamaican educational materials and their support of the early-childhood sector.

Executive chairman of Carlong Carl Carby emphasised the organisation's commitment to supporting reading and reading habits, especially at the early-childhood level.

"Carlong Publishers Caribbean Limited is committed in continuing to play our part in making every Jamaican child a reader and sustain reading habits in our people as a lifelong one. Books continue to be an important part of the education process and Carlong will position itself at the critical stages," Carby said.

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