Renaissance Learning team back to assess pilot programme, hold training for librarians, lecturers | 20 July 2019
There is evidence that the literacy level is growing remarkably among P2 and P4 pupils whose schools featured in the Renaissance Literacy programme trial launched in May this year.
“Evidence shows that pupils who in the past may have borrowed only one book from the school’s library are now more interested in reading and in one school a child has until now read 24 books,” Peter Shneider, the vice-president of Renaissance Learning said yesterday, noting that the results are very positive.
A team from Renaissance Learning comprising Mr Shneider, education specialist Margaret Allen and project manager Jessany Hunter are back in the country to assess the pupils’ literacy level and interest in reading since they started on the literacy pilot programme in May.
The trial is taking place at P2 and P4 levels in five primary schools selected based on their size, staffing situation, resources, internet access, results and strategic focus. They are Takamaka, Bel Ombre, Plaisance, Baie Ste Anne and Anse Etoile primary schools.
During its week-long mission the team has visited the different schools to carry out its assessments and test the pupils.
As part of the programme to boost interest in reading, pupils were able to access a large variety of some 6,000 interactive books online based on their choice and interest while teachers has access to a wide variety of teaching resources and tools.
“One of the objectives of the programme is to get pupils enthusiastic about reading again because it was felt that their interest in books and reading had dropped and so they were really excited to have something new that combined digital, screens and everything that is different. The fact that the books can ‘talk’ to them they can experience what is going on in the different pages and the images are big and vibrant and each book has the ability to speak or not speak,” said Ms Allen.
She went on to add that the teachers too are now excited about teaching as they now have reading and teaching resources that reflect the 21st century.
“They feel they need to engage and expose children to what is happening outside Seychelles and they are excited to have something that is modern and relevant which give children the opportunity to combine technology and reading. They can assess the children better and know the books they are reading and how many books they have read, said Ms Allen.
Yesterday’s training for librarians and assistant librarians was to ensure they acquaint themselves with the different tools that are available to them and how they complement their roles while two SITE (Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education) lecturers followed to ensure that should the ministry decide to adopt the programme in all schools in the future, SITE will have the mandate to ensure all new teachers who are trained are familiar with the Renaissance Literacy programme.
Some of the participants spoken to were all very positive about this new initiative which they say is more exciting both for pupils and teachers and will no doubt greatly boost pupils’ interest in reading.
Mr Shneider said they will now examine the data collected before submitting a report to the education ministry.
The director general for primary schools, Cyril Pillay, said the ministry is monitoring the performance of pupils who took part in the project when they sit their 2nd term test but he noted that they are getting data from the schools for continuous assessments in reading skills and classroom discussions which shows that pupils’ vocabulary are being enriched and this is a really good sign.
The Renaissance Literacy programme trial is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and Renaissance Learning.
Renaissance is an established provider of reading software to improve children’s learning for over 30 years.