3 Reading ambassadors for Natiional Literacy Strategy

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3 Reading ambassadors for Natiional Literacy StrategySingers Ira Losco, Kurt Calleja and Gianluca Bezzina are among the first local names appointed as Reading Ambassadors by the Ministry for Education and Employment.

The aim of this initiative is to promote reading and improve perceptions on literacy in schools through local names that children can relate to.

National Literacy Day is celebrated on the 8th of September and in Malta the day was marked during an event in Sliema where the ambassadors were unveiled and various initiatives such as story-telling and group reading were held.

The importance of continuously striving to improve levels of literacy in both Maltese and English cannot be emphasised enough and is highlighted in various statistics whereby Malta lacks behind of the EU average. Language is important in the provision of quality education.

Quality education should be inclusive and language should form the basis of successful learning in all subjects. It is not enough simply to claim that language education is adequately being addressed because it is being taught at a basic level in the formal curriculum. Policies and practices are to be formulated and coordinated to ensure not just minimum standards but high quality provision.

The Ministry for Education and Employment said that it is seeking to promote increased levels of literacy in every way possible. The Ministry is eager to enter into a partnership with parents, teachers and other interested parties from both the public and private sectors who are ready to collaborate with us on this important venture.

“The love for reading needs to be germinated within the home and early on in school and nurtured in later years. There needs to be increased awareness that the role of parents and child carers is vital in the early years.”

The Ministry said that it “feels that as a nation we should do our utmost to increase levels of literacy through collaborative efforts, both within our formal education system and as a society. Within our education system we need to ensure that we are able to motivate our students to enjoy what they do at school.

“Learning, and in particular literacy skills like those of reading and writing, should be perceived as enjoyable activities rather than scholastic chores. Literacy should be the responsibility of all educators and not just of those teaching Maltese and English. There needs to be also increased awareness within the wider community of the importance of raising literacy standards and the negative repercussions, both on a human and economic level, which poor literacy skills bring.”

In April the Ministry for Education and Employment appointed eight consultation groups to look closely at the state of the provision for literacy at different levels and in various areas. These groups completed their reports in early summer. Feedback was requested from the interested parties and the general public.

The National Literacy Strategy will seek to put emphasis, among others, on the following:

Increased emphasis on the first and early years. These years form the basis for later literacy development.

Increased parental involvement as meaningful dialogue with significant adults in the early years is very important for language development.

More emphasis on meaningful dialogue also in child-care and kindergarten centres.

Opportunities for increased Reading time in schools.

Screening of literacy difficulties and appropriate intervention in the early and junior years.

Appropriate capacity-building and continuing professional development opportunities in literacy for the different teaching ranks and educational administrators at all levels.

Better coordination of efforts between day and afterschool provision and among all the stakeholders.

Increased youth and adult education literacy opportunities.

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