Earlier this school year John Gray High School students received a special donation of 680 classroom library books from Cayman’s literacy charity, LIFE (Literacy Is for Everyone), to expand the school’s ongoing classroom library project. Some of these books were then distributed to students after lockdown, to assist with students’ remote learning, while they study at home.
JGHS Principal Jon Clark said the donation had been hugely beneficial for students at a crucial time:
“Any extra resources we can provide our students during this difficult lockdown period have been beneficial in keeping our students on track as they seek to study at home,” he said. “For that reason, we were very pleased to be able to provide students with extra reading material to help them broaden their literary skills and help them develop a love of reading at home.”
The books will eventually go to create classroom libraries which, Mr Clark advised, were hugely beneficial for students.
“We want all our students to become lifelong readers and, having classroom libraries filled with a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction, greatly helps us achieve this goal,” he said. “Our teachers help students to select books that complement the curriculum and address their personal interests.”
Principal Clark added that when students were interested and engaged with books, it improved their comprehension as well as their enjoyment of reading.
“We are ever so grateful to LIFE for giving our students that opportunity,” he stated.
The aim of LIFE’s Classroom Library Project is to bolster student access to books, encourage knowledge expansion and spread the joy of reading by ensuring that every classroom, in every Government school in the Cayman Islands, is appropriately resourced with high quality books for their students.
Creating and building a classroom library is time consuming and involves sourcing the right books, coordinating international shipping logistics and delivering the heavy load of books to schools. Many books are also sourced individually through generous donations from our community and by eagle- eyed volunteers finding bargains in second-hand book stores at home and abroad. It takes a team of volunteers to individually clean, collate and box these books into complete classroom libraries covering a variety of topics - including fiction and non-fiction – designed to capture the students' imagination and enhance their classroom learning.
LIFE Project Coordinator Erin Galatopoulos commented, "It's a labour of love putting together classroom libraries for public schools in Cayman. Studies show that when students have daily access to quality books, they will read more, and reading opens so many doors of knowledge and opportunity."
To date, LIFE's Classroom Library Project has donated more than 27,000 books to the Government school system, thanks to the commitment and generosity of its sponsors and volunteers.
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