Improving literacy among youth

The Department of Education Services and Maples and Calder have partnered with Books & Books to create Cayman’s first-ever book award.

The Cayman Whistling Duck Book Award is an initiative of Red Bay Primary School Literacy Coordinator Anne Briggs and Red Bay Librarian Carolyn Sterling.

Formally launched on 20 October when the books were distributed to children throughout the government school system, the award will be presented to three international authors annually.

These authors will be one of five nominated in each category and include such well-known authors as Judy Blume, Chris Riddell and Suzanne Collins. Categories are divided by age and span readers aged five years to teenagers.

The first awards will be presented at the inaugural event in April 2009, said a press release from Maples and Calder.

Students will be asked to read each book in their category and will receive coloured wristbands representing the number of books they have read.

Prizes will also be given to those children who have read all books in the category.

Winning authors will be selected upon review of the ratings allocated to each book by the students. The intention of the programme is to bring the authors down to the Cayman Islands to meet the students when receiving their awards.

The Cayman Islands Whistling Duck Book Award logo will also be included on future copies of the winning books.

Ms Briggs introduced the programme as a way to inspire children’s interest in reading. ‘[W]ithin the selection process we will create activities that will associate reading with positive and fun experiences,’ she explained.

‘We want to stimulate a love of reading so that the children in our community become avid recreational readers.’

Private schools can choose to participate in the programme as well, and children attending schools that are not participating can submit their book summaries to Books & Books in order to be eligible to vote and win prizes.

To find out more information about this programme, you can contact Anne Briggs at 926-7749 or Sheree Harrison from Maples and Calder at 814-5456.