October 24, 2020

Rotary Sunrise’s continued commitment to literacy

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Public LibBy Ciara Aspinall

Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is crucial to social and human development and is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s life. According to UNESCO (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation) the number of illiterate persons in the world has fallen over the past decade, however 775 million adults (64% of whom are women) still lack basic reading and writing skills. In 2010, the global adult literacy rate was 84.1%, compared to 89.6% for youth.

Unknown-1Locally, it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of our student population are reading at or below their expected level. For the past five years,Rotary Sunrise has been committed to improving literacy levels in the Cayman Islands. Since 2008, Rotary Sunrise has used the CALS (Computer-Assisted Literacy Solution) programme which incorporates two separate educational programmes by AutoSkill International: the Academy of READING® and the Academy of MATH®. The Autoskill reading and math software is designed to raise literacy or math proficiency by two grade levels in only 25 hours of training. For over 15 years, these research-based programmes have helped at-risk students. It provides immediate, measurable results and is the only software that measures accuracy, pace and consistency down to the millisecond.

Initially, a pilot project using CALS was undertaken from July through to October 2008 at one of the high schools in the Cayman Islands in partnership with Rotary Sunrise. The feedback that we received from participants was extremely positive.

In 2010, over 170 middle school students were identified to benefit from the Academy of Reading and to this end, Rotary Sunrise purchased the software and coordinated the training for teachers.

Subsequent to this, in 2012, Rotary Sunrise rolled out CALS to Savannah United Church and adults and children continue to benefit from CALS in their after-school and adult programmes. Rotary Sunrise continues to support this initiative.

For this Rotary year, CALS will be rolled out to the Community Vocational Training Centre which is temporarily housed at the training centre at the Department of Public Works. The programmes will be managed and organised by Lorna Bush and will continue to be a Rotary Sunrise project. It is hoped that through the project, many adults will benefit from CALS which will help improve literacy levels.

UnknownReading and math skills are the cornerstone of learning and Rotary Sunrise is delighted to support a programme that fills the gap in our country. Through the Academy of Reading, we have the opportunity to help improve the lives of individuals within our community through literacy improvement. Rotary Sunrise is immensely proud to be involved in the Academy of Reading programme and to help improve literacy levels in the Cayman Islands.

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The George Town Public Library has now partnered with the Rotary Club Sunrise. It is able to offer a programme that can help learners to develop and strengthen the skills needed to find and keep employment.

The computer programme is self-paced and pupils will have use of library facilities, and resources such as laptops. They will also have access to in-person support for the duration of the Computer Assisted Literacy Solution programme.

Those taking part should have basic English or Spanish language abilities, in addition to keyboarding and mouse skills. Facilitators will be on hand to assist those with a minimal knowledge of these areas.

The library will register up to five students at a time for the course and those who finish the programme will receive a certificate of completion.

For more information, contact [email protected] or visit the George Town Library.

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