Regional

Epworth Primary hosts first reading fair

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 23, 2014    

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WHILE not many people may know of the quiet community of Epworth in St Ann, the organisers of a recently held reading fair at Epworth Primary School ensured visitors knew just how talented the students were.

The students, who engaged in reading, spelling and comprehension competitions for their respective houses, put on a great show for parents, teachers, sponsors, and several persons who attended the fair held at the Epworth Methodist Church.

One of the most exciting activities of the day was the spelling competition which saw grades five and six students spelling all the words in the stipulated curriculum and forcing the organisers to resort to selecting random words from the dictionary. Grade five student Jamoy James, who represented Roxborough House, emerged winner of the competition; Sandrea Tait of Betton House and Sashoy Braham of Melville House placed second and third, respectively in that group.

In another spell-off category Kaydrean Salabie won in Group Two to bring her house, Melville, much-needed points, while finishing second and third respectively were Horasha Llewellyn for Roxburgh and Neville Webb for Melville.

Javon Barnette placed first in Group One with Melville House representatives Amor Johnson and Olivia Cohen finishing second and third, respectively.

Christall Byfield, USAID/Ministry of Education reading coach, who is one of the main organisers of the fair, dubbed Lit-o-Plosion, said it was a success as it got students involved at all levels.

"When you drove on the compound on the days leading up to the competition you saw students who were not even entering the competition reading the stories, quizzing their friends discussing the stories, practising their spelling. It was also a joy to see the students completing all the spelling words on their list and judges having to seek over 30 additional words as well as random selections from the dictionary," Byfield told the Jamaica Observer North East.

Based on the outcome, Byfield said all critical objectives were met, as the competition was developed to showcase the talent of the students.

"I was motivated to keep this competition. After interacting with the students and teachers I realised that there was so much that the students of Epworth had in them to showcase; and it was worth showcasing," she said.

Byfield added: "I also thought of the upcoming Grade Four Literacy Test, and how a competition like this would strengthen the literacy skills of students as well as to build their confidence. But, most important for them is to see that not only sporting competitions can be exciting and fun, but learning is equally as much fun."

Byfield said she believes the competition will only get better.

"One sponsor has pledged to be the headline sponsor for the next year's competition, while the judges and teachers, parents, sponsors, and students have already started to discuss changes for next year's competition," she added.

Literacy Coordinator Deidre Lowe, and teacher Dionne Thompson Gray were also instrumental in organising the fair. Principal of the institution Launa Meredith said she was grateful to the people who organised the event, the first of its kind at the school.

"For the first time [doing it] it went well," she said.

The school, she said, was also happy for the support it got from the community and parents who came out to show their support. Meredith said, based on what she has seen, the competition will continue.

"We really want to continue this programme. It helps to expose the students and to build their confidence. It will also help them to improve in the area of literacy," she said, adding that the organisers and teachers worked very hard to have a successful reading fair.

Byfield also sang high praises to staff members and the many others who she said worked assiduously to ensure the smooth running of the day's event.

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