Saturday, April 28, 2012

TRENCHTOWN READING CENTRE, Kingston, Jamaica Education Centre & Community Library

In the heart of one of the most challenged cities in the world, Kingston Jamaica, is a ray of light for young people that continually shines brighter. The Trenchtown Reading Centre, located on the same block as Bob Marley's yard, opened 19 years ago. Created by Roslyn Ellison and members of the community it is unique - a first of its kind in an area polarized by persistent poverty and local tribal politics and a very challenging place to grow up. The Centre plays an important role in helping break the negative cycle of illiteracy and marginalization by providing relevant and accessible resources and programming to realize more positive alternatives. It has become an oasis which gives hope, continuity, nurtures talent and changes lives, a place where life is enriched by reading, learning, creating & sharing. The TrenchTown Reading Centre is an impressive project which is going strong but is in need of support. The Centre’s programs focus on literacy, creative learning, skill building, developing critical thinking and self-esteem. The Centre encourages original thought - building confidence and stimulating the creative process. Drawing on children’s experiences and culture to help them to learn with understanding. Creative arts are routinely woven into the learning process. Using the library’s extensive materials they provide a comprehensive range of activities for all ages and grade levels. Art, Cultural and Social programs develop skills and ensure positive experiences and outlets for the children to express the impact of their surroundings and hopes for their future The Centre's goal is to provide children with enjoyable learning experiences that have a positive impact on their self- confidence, social skills, create higher expectations and new approaches to learning. The Centre aims to provide them with skills, fresh knowledge, abilities and to broadening their life experience. The Children’s Corner gives the children freedom to choose books, relax and share with their friends, be read to and read to others. Many children and youths, readers and non-readers enjoy the books. The unique setting helps inspire them to learn and see reading as a fun and positive experience … creating lifelong fluent readers! The Centre provides a welcoming, inclusive, safe and positive environment. The site now has two buildings – the Library & Tutorial room and an adjacent building providing classroom, performance and meeting space…as well as an outside reading pavilion … all set in a lovely garden that the children help maintain. Illiteracy rates are as high as 70%. Recent research shows that the simple best bet to literacy is the Volume of Reading Time and Exposure to a Variety of material, coupled with consistent guided reading and practice. A Guided Reading program provides support, helping with reading strategies, decoding, connotative skills, comprehension and modeling as they read. Consistent practice and guidance, in small groups and 1-1, is important element in developing literate, confident, fluent readers. Founder/director Roslyn Ellison says " ..we need to adjust and amplify our focus on language as we are working with a population where teaching English literacy is, in fact, teaching English as a second language (ESL). Our experience is that Guided Reading coupled with solo, buddy reading and language arts activities has quick and positive results- improved literacy, thinking skills and self-confidence, learning with understanding and a continued interest in learning." "Exposure to a wide variety and volume of materials and reading time provides a platform for practice of necessary strategies and skills. Ideally children should have book experiences in comfortable settings ~ not just in the pressure cooker of a large class. We are exposing children to books, getting them comfortable and interested in reading, all in a cozy child-centred environment, which the Centre provides." BOOKS: There is a dedicated Guided Reading Section with many effective emergent and early reader series. We constantly add to our collection to provide volume and variety of materials. Many of the books have a simple ‘How To” section which makes it easy for willing parents and volunteers to participate. For more information follow these links: WEBSITE: http://www.trenchtownreadingcentre.com FACEBOOK Group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=99213236091.. Some quotes about the project: Emma Lewis: US Embassy Office of PR. Personal comment: Trench Town Forever! Just a stone's throw away from the Government Yard where Bob Marley grew up, in a sadly impoverished area, the Trench Town Reading Centre is a little beacon of love, light and hope. More power to you and your wonderful kids and the grown ups too!
Allison Hickling: Rotary Club Trafalgar,Communication Specialist UNICEF Jamaica I speak on behalf of the Club and all our special guest readers when I say that we had the most wonderful time on Saturday. It was a blessing and an honour. To our great delight, a few of the kids showed off their drama skills in performances done true Jamaican style. The event was topped off by individual reading sessions with club members, for which the kids enthusiastically rushed to pick out their books and readers. Personally, this was the best part of the event for me --for both the warm interaction and the absolute eagerness on the part of the kids to devour the books. You are doing this community such an amazing service, by helping to encourage avid readers for life! Christopher Whyms-Stone: Architect: Cornerstone Design Architects & Planners, Managing Director; Kingston, Jamaica This place through is mere existence and also its programs has given the YOUTH an entirely different perspective of life...every time i see these photos of these kids I remember them a few years ago and see how they have grown and continue to bloom.....this is what strengthens my faith that Jamaica's best years are ahead of us...." Vivien Goldman: Author: Book of Exodus (Making Bob Marley & Wailers album 2006) “The existence of the TRC, a rare haven amid Trench Town’s battered streets, is crucial in helping the community “Take just one step more.” The Centre’s extraordinary work, bringing the light of literacy where reading ability is not always the norm; giving a safe, clean, beautiful space to the area’s youth …. long may the TRC’s light shine bright If you, your school, students or organization would like to support TrenchTown Reading Centre, please contact Roslyn Ellison: reading_centre@hotmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Margriet. Dear readers, All children want to learn & create. Trench Town Jamaica is a very challenging place to live & grow, with little to support the youth on their journey. We hope that you will be moved and consider helping keep our young sparks nurtured and growing in a positive direction.'One One Coco Full Basket' every bit helps..
    I divide my time between Vancouver and Kingston Jamaica (the Centre). If you have any questions or inspirations please email me at reading_centre@hotmail.com or call 604 808 1907

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