In the name of reading

Saul: Literacy in Barbados is still key

More needs to be done beyond the 98 per cent international basic literacy level at which Barbados currently stands. The assertion on the occasion of World International Literacy Day, being celebrated today, from Barbados Association Of Reading president Dr Patricia Saul, as his organization held its Literacy Float Parade through Bridgetown over the weekend.

“We thought it prudent, as an association that promotes literacy in Barbados, that we should do an activity that would draw the public’s attention to literacy and its importance in personal and national development. So we came up with that idea of having floats that illustrate all storybook characters, and the importance of reading.

“We want to sensitize the public to the fact that literacy is still the key, and we’ve brought out children; we’ve brought out adults to participate in this activity,” Saul said on Saturday.

During the two-hour-plus motorcade that left Fontabelle just after 10 a.m., and made its way to Cheapside and on to Broad Street, with a brief stop in front of Cave Shepherd & Co., Barbadians even though busy with their final back to school and usual Saturday shopping took time out for a spoken word performance by Adrian Green, as volunteers distributed pamphlets and bookmarks that spoke to the importance of reading. Before leaving, the group release a set of balloons in memory of the 200 plus girls who were taken from a school in Nigeria some months ago.

A hug from storybook character Jack Rabbit at the Literacy Float Parade on Saturday.
A hug from storybook character Jack Rabbit at the Literacy Float Parade on Saturday.
A simple poster with a mighty message.
A simple poster with a mighty message.

Saul noted: “These girls have been robbed of the opportunity to be literate. Even in Barbados as we celebrate out 98 per cent basic literacy, we are cognizant that there are people around the world who don’t have that privilege . . . . [But] in the area of functional literacy –– I do not think that we have a measure for that –– we still need to do a lot of work.

“We are happy to celebrate 98 per cent basic literacy, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” she stressed, while explaining that basic literacy was defined as the ability to read and understand a simple sentence.

“. . . And we all know that in this technological age we have got to be able to do more than that; and so it is against that background that we emphasize the need for functional literacy.

“I think schools are trying; but it has to be a joint effort. Schools have got to play their part; parents have got to play their part; and the community has got to play its part. I think that there is a need for a more united effort, so that we can achieve that ultimate objective,” Saul added.



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