New Atlantic Reader Series geared at improving Guyana’s literacy rate

…to be translated into Indigenous languages, Spanish
The specialised Atlantic Reader Series, launched by the Education Ministry on Friday, now provides relevant learning materials for Guyanese students and is geared at improving the country’s literacy performance.

The newly completed Atlantic Reader Series

The six-book reader and workbook series, first conceptualised in 2012, was developed by local educators and finally completed. It is expected to ensure that children are able to read at the appropriate level and enhance the phonetic capability of both hinterland and coastal students. In Guyana, it is expected that children should be able to read by the Grade Four level.
Initially, a study that researched the literacy level of schools found that there was a need for improvement. Thereafter, there was a search to improve the scope of performance and then the first lap of the series was commissioned.
Throughout the past 18 months, work commenced to complete the last three books of the series and re-edit the first three that were published. Embedded in the materials are the five core literacy skills: listening, thinking, speaking, reading, and writing.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Literacy), Samantha Williams said this series is a production of the Ministry and a boast for the region. Locals were tasked with identifying the demographic uniqueness of the country and using a blend of themes to develop resources critical to reading skills.
“Immense trust was placed in the hands of local writers. We were tasked with creating a reading resource that would satisfy the diverse needs of all learners as well as a resource that would meet the cultural complexities of our multi-ethnic society, while still considering the demographic uniqueness of all our primary children,” she briefed.
Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Hutson identified that if students are not able to read in the initial stages in life, it is challenging for them to progress in their school life. Dr Hutson professed that these books have the proclivity to gain international acclaim, and the potential to be used in Caribbean countries.
“We are extremely proud that this is a Guyanese product. The way these books were written, we believe that they have the propensity to gain international acclaim because I’m sure Caribbean countries when they would have gone through this product, they may very well want to buy it,” the CEO pitched.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Priya Manickchand mandated that the Ministry will monitor how effectively they are being used in the classrooms. It is available to any country that wants them. It will be translated into Indigenous and foreign languages.
“We will have to make sure that we monitor and evaluate how effectively these resources are being used in the classroom. To write them and publish them is just a little tip of what we need from these books. What we need from these books is every single child, regardless of if you’re coming from the hinterland or Georgetown or Essequibo or the Corentyne, that every child is reading at Grade Four,” Manickchand positioned.
Now onwards, the Minister said, is a call to teachers to hold themselves accountable at a higher standard and indicate when children are below par of the required performing scope.
“If the children got to be reading at Grade Four, then you have specific things that you have to finish at Grade One. And if they’re not finished with particular children, even if it’s three out of the 52, you have to bring to your supervisor’s attention that these three children need further work.”
It was pointed out that at the National Grade Six Assessment, a percentage of children scored zero because they could not read.
Each child will receive a workbook and reader, procured from the $1.2 billion that was earmarked in the 2022 budget for textbooks.