by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Volunteer literacy tutors help adult readers
- Adult Literacy Initiative of Grenada offers free literacy classes
- Classes held in St George, St Patrick, St Andrew, and St John with plans to expand to Carriacou
Prior to assistance from the Adult Literacy Initiative of Grenada (ALIG) programme, Juliet Frank and Nathaniel Jacob admitted to great difficulty reading and spelling and feared what people might think if they decided to come forward.
They are among a group of adults benefiting from volunteer tutors who help improve the reading, writing, and problem-solving skills of adult learners in Grenada. Literacy statistics conducted by UNESCO in 1970 revealed that Grenada’s literacy rate was 97.8%, but the ALIG programme has observed a significant number of adults unable to read fluently or reading at a primary school level.
A friend from church introduced Frank to the programme. “First, I was sought of embarrassed and laid back, I didn’t want to come out and acknowledge it, but I put away my pride and I did come out of that programme and from that programme, I learned a lot and right now I can say I am more confident to read in public.”
Frank welcomes the approach taken by her tutors in helping her to pronounce words more fluently. “Growing up in school you learn about phonics… but how they put it, it’s much easier for you to be able to read much better and spell much better and so it’s a blessing.”
ALIG is a non-profit organisation geared to increase the adult literacy rate in Grenada by offering free literacy classes to Grenadians. They receive support from the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA) – a Trinidad-based organisation which in 2014 revamped the programme after it was dismantled following Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The parent body provided training for tutors who will, in turn, teach adult literacy to participants of the programme in Grenada.
Jacob has said since joining the programme he has seen tremendous improvement in his reading comprehension skills which has now helped to boost his confidence. “After 3 months I have built my confidence, my self-esteem and being a different person in life so I can help my children.”
ALIG tutor and treasurer Karina Daniel says the programme has seen growth in 2018 in terms of adults signing up for the programme and tutors coming on board. This she said was as a result of an aggressive marketing and promotional campaign. “I joined ALIG just when it blossomed… and at that time there were 4 or 5 tutors who were the main tutors going everywhere and at that time there were pretty much two classes, Level 1 and level 2 in the St George’s location in the Grenada Community Library; and we started to really advertise and market the programme… and because of that we had a lot more tutors coming in and we had a lot more students.”
Richard Beadle was impressed with the success of the programme that he has decided to become a volunteer himself by first completing the training. “This literacy initiative is truly going to take over and transform Grenada, and I really want to encourage everyone to participate and support and sponsor whatever you can, but most of all support those who need to learn to read and write.”
2018 has been a tremendous year for the team at ALIG as they celebrate the success and achievements of adult literacy learners. Currently, adult literacy classes are being held in St George, St Patrick, St Andrew, and St John and there are plans to expand to Carriacou. The programme was officially launched in December.