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Sep 8, 2015

World Literacy Day Celebrated in Belize

World Literacy Day is being celebrated in Belize under the theme ‘Read to a Child Today. Read to a Child Every Day.’ This morning schools from Belize City, as well as organizations which have partnered with the Ministry of Education, gathered at the B.T.L. Park in Belize City to celebrate the occasion. Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Literacy is a big thing in our small country, and today the day set aside for recognition of that critical component in any society was celebrated with the tradition pomp, ceremony and, of course, the students who are really the focus of any literacy campaign.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Make things come alive and don’t be limited to the book. If the book says grrr, grrr…you put your own thing to that…you put your own life into it and you use your imagination. You get the children all excited, you get them motivated to want to read, to listen to your reading, but to also read on their own. And if you do that, you will be doing your children a great, great service and by extension, you will be doing Belize, out nation, and this wider world—it is International Literacy Day—a wonderful service. So I encourage you to do that.”

 

Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, says literacy is not only about reading, but also about writing and numeracy.

 

Patrick Faber

“In our literacy unit, we promote numeracy as well as reading and writing and that is important. Many of our children need to know the importance of numbers and using numbers and once we accomplish numeracy and literacy, it must be our goal my friends for us to also be able to utilize numeracy and literacy to our advantage. We just don’t only need to teach children how to read, write and know numbers, we need to teach them to use it in their everyday lives because if that is not accomplished then we are wasting our time.”

 

One corporate partner, Scotiabank, celebrated literacy day with a book drive in all branches countrywide. The books obtained in Belize City branches, over four hundred, were today presented to James Garbutt SDA, Muslim Community, Queen Street Baptist and Calvary Temple.

 

Michael Shaw

Michael Shaw, Country Manager, Scotiabank

“These four hundred books are only a part of what we gathered. The other branches that are on the outskirts of Belize City will have the responsibility of ensuring that the needy schools that are in their individual areas will have books to be distributed. We are truly partners with the Ministry of Education. We believe that education is key; it will open a lot of locks, it will get people into my job one of these days. And my intention is that somebody in this audience will take over from me one day. I really hope so.”

 

The highlight of the ceremony promoting literacy was the recognition of students who participated in a special summer program to encourage reading. Dejon Miles from All Saints School was the top performer. He read fifty-six books over the summer.

 

Mary Vasquez

Mary Vasquez, Restore Belize

“Many schools were invited to participate. The national library service also worked with us; one hundred percent partners in being the locale where children could go to read. And the idea was that children would read a book and then write a log about each book explaining what happened in the book so we could know that they read the book and understand the book—reading is one thing and comprehension is another. So sixty students completed the program from voer twenty schools. And the prizes that we will give today are being given to those children who read the most and to those schools who collectively had the most point in the program.”

 

Read to a Child Today. Read to a Child Every Day. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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