(September 13, 2012) – With the aim of further developing and enhancing the Reading Road Trip literacy program, the Sandals Foundation recently purchased new reading kits containing 1,000 books from Scholastic to be used at 10 Foundation adopted schools in the Caribbean.
In addition to the books, which are suitable for children ages 5 – 8 years old, the kits contain games and manipulatives such as alphabet letters and pictures; word building tiles; high frequency word tiles; sentence building tiles and learning mats with sight words.
Approximately 400 children participated in the Reading Road Trip during the 2011-2012 school year, and in order to build on its success, the Foundation is now offering this new material that is expected to appeal to the students’ varying interests during the weekly sessions, which resume on September 13 to continue throughout this school year.
“Teachers and principals have reported that children who were in the program last year had better letter recognition and were more excited about reading. The new tools and readers available at three different levels will offer hands on experience to the students and enhance their phonetic awareness, work on word-building and sight word recognition,” said Heidi Clarke, director of programs for the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International.
Clarke noted that having reviewed a number of beginner readers and learning tools, the Sandals Foundation chose Scholastic, a publishing and distribution company, due to its “expert research and its reputation of having been tried and proven in 150 countries for more than 90 years”.
“We feel that these kits will only enhance the literacy program, developing the skills needed to become successful readers,” she said. “Every year we plan on offering more up-to-date and interesting material so that we can play our part in achieving the goal of increasing the literacy level in the Caribbean.”
In 2011, the Sandals Foundation launched the Reading Road Trip, its first voluntourism initiative aimed at improving literacy, comprehension and vocabulary among students. The trip, which takes place every Thursday, is available through Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours and allows guests of Sandals and Beaches Resorts – in Jamaica, Antigua, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Lucia and Exuma in the Bahamas – to visit a Foundation adopted school and lend literacy support to students.