Manchester Parish Library launches reading expo for Child Month
Nine-year-old McIntosh Memorial Primary student Rickelicia Ellis, reading a book inside the Manchester Parish Library on Wednesday.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Senior librarian at the Manchester Parish Library Mitchel Barnes-Pitter has made a plea to children to utilise its resources to improve their literacy skills.

Barnes-Pitter charge came on the margins of a reading expo at the library on Wednesday.

She told the Jamaica Observer that the reading expo was focused on boosting reading awareness as part of celebration of Child Month.

"It is one way of encouraging children to read more and enjoy reading. We were hindered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and just to get the students back into the library space and to enjoy a genre of reading resources both physical and the virtual [component] as we have e-books," said Barnes-Pitter.

Senior Librarian at the Manchester Parish Library, Mitchel Barnes-Pitter

"We create various [reading] corners with different genres of stories, so that they can explore and enjoy while they are learning," she added.

Barnes-Pitter is also concerned about the decline in use of the library and literacy among children.

"We want them to come back again and develop this love for reading…They have not been coming to the library as before and since the pandemic, I think they have gotten more gadgets — especially the tablets — because of online learning," she said.

"The fact that the literacy rate has been reduced… I have been to events recently where we were invited to set up booths — a reading area — and we have an educational game with the PS4 and we would ask the children to read some resources that we had there before going on the gadgets, and I realised they weren't reading [well]," added Barnes-Pitter.

Among the schools at the reading expo were Sacred Heart Academy, McIntosh Memorial Primary, Alphansus Davis High and Mile Gully High.

Barnes-Pitter said the aim of the event was to introduce creative ways for children to develop a love for reading.

"We think that it is our responsibility to actually help them to read, that is why we have come up with this initiative too. We still have our regular story hour, our progressive leaders programme at the library," she said.

She added: "This is our first year at the parish library having the expo in this format and we are planning to have it as an annual event where children can see that reading is fun. They can find material that they love to read."

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter

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