East End Primary School has launched a home reading program that encourages children to embrace books and, organizers hope, will lay the foundation for young students to become lifelong readers.
At the launch of the program on Monday, Sept. 21, Minister of Education Tara Rivers read aloud her favorite children’s book, “The Little Engine That Could,” to the students.
She also recommended the book to the kids, in keeping with the school’s “Book It Forward” campaign. “Book It Forward,” created by Youtube child star Kid President, encourages readers to introduce others to their favorite books.
The school’s reading program includes more than 1,300 fiction and non-fiction books, take-home book bags and reading rewards, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Education on Friday.
Minister Rivers joined the students, staff, members of the community and other guests at the launch celebrations.
“Having resources available for our students to engage in reading on a daily basis helps to provide a good foundation to build a culture of readers and lifelong learners,” Ms. Rivers said.
Jessica Jackson, the school’s literacy coach and initiator of the program, said, “Research shows that children who spend time engaged with books have more developed vocabularies, knowledge of spelling, verbal fluency and reading comprehension skills and a wider knowledge of the world around them.”
Students were invited after assembly on Monday to browse the school’s newly stocked Home Reading Library and select a book to take home for the very first time.
The program is sponsored by Genesis Trust. Literacy Is For Everyone, also known as LIFE, helped the school find Genesis Trust as its partner.
Paul Drake, managing director of Genesis Trust, and Roger Priaulx, director, funded the resources to start the program.
“With [Genesis Trust’s] help, our students now have the opportunity to engage in daily reading at home, which will support the continual development of their literacy skills and foster a lifelong love for reading and learning,” school principal Allison Wallace said in the ministry’s statement.