My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Hands Across the Sea, Inc., Boston, MA, USA
As a Language Teacher at the Grenada Seventh Day Adventist Comprehensive School (Grenada), I always believe that reading is the passport to one’s future success in life. Having the ability to read is one of the greatest gift anyone can give to him/herself. This is why our school is extremely happy that our dream of improving the school’s literacy levels has come to a fruition due to the timely contribution from Hands Across the Sea (referred to as HANDS in future references). We are deeply grateful to HANDS for their generous donation of books and other educational resources, including their immeasurable support from the Local Links Officers, Mrs. Gloria Bonaparte and Mrs. Bernadette John. I appreciate greatly their investment in my students’ education.
At our school, literacy is a challenge faced by several of our students; and it was extremely difficult to find interesting, educational, informative resources to help my students become independent readers. In this post-modern era where everything is online or technology-based, it is also very frustrating to motivate students to read books. In addition, due to low socio-economic backgrounds, my students do not have much reading material and learning resources at home. However, thanks to HANDS, this challenge is drastically minimized since the Remedial Reading Kit (RRK) and learning resources motivate my students to read and keep them actively engaged. The contributions from HANDS were truly a blessing.
Not only do I use the RRK books, the library books and the activities and games to teach reading, but also to teach various concepts and skills, such as comprehension, writing, listening and public speaking skills. Phonics, spelling and vocabulary are also taught using the RRK material and library resources. I conduct whole classes, small group sessions and individual pull-out sessions. The topics covered in the RRK books cover a wide expanse of information, which connects to my students and helps them to broaden their knowledge. These books are relevant, interactive and creative, and keep the students’ interest, while making the teaching – learning process fun. In addition, the activities provide scaffolding, which assists all students, especially the very frustrated readers. The lesson plans provided in the Teacher’s Guide makes planning easier as there are step-by-step guidelines for teaching the language skills a student will need.
As a result, my students have become more enthused to learn and read books. They enjoy their classes and are now eager to participate in class discussions and activities. They love manipulating with the games and other material. Some of their favourite books include ‘Hip Hop’, ‘Tats’, ‘The Mix’, 'Blue Sea', ‘Drones’ and ‘Snakes’. They all love playing the Bingo games and using the ‘Banagrams’, the ‘Letter Tiles’, ‘Photo Tiles’ and ‘Flashcards’. As a teacher, I also enjoy using the resources to teach, and I have fun with my students.
Furthermore, I am the coordinator of the Student Librarian Programme and help the librarians to manage the library in our school. Our library space is small, and our school has been lacking adequate and updated reading material for a long while until HANDS decided to take us under its wing. With regards to our spacing, our school is soon to be renovated, and provisions have been made for a bigger and more efficient space for our library. However, in the meantime, we have renovated and rejuvenated our present library, and we now have a proper functioning library that our students visit regularly. Students also have started borrowing books to take home to read. The Student Librarians have also been a great help in assisting the librarians and encouraging other students to read the books.
Moreover, I have organised various weekly, monthly and quarterly library activities and events to encourage more students to visit the library and read books and to increase the general literacy levels across the school. Some of these activities are “Reader of the Month Contest, Story-time, Read-Along, Share the Read, Drop Everything and Read, Book Character Day, Book Swap, Buddy Readers, Be a Good Sport and Read, Poetry Slam, Book and Song Contest and Language Game On”. We are also in the process of organizing a Book Club and a Local Authors Programme for our students.
In order to facilitate the teaching and learning of phonological awareness, spellings, oral reading, listening and speaking skills and some of our library events, I have already begun making plans to incorporate technology in our library such as obtaining an IPEVO IW2 Wireless Interactive Whiteboard System, an Electric Motorized Projector Screen, Headsets and a Surround Sound Speaker System. I believe that this technology, together with the contributions from HANDS, will greatly enhance all aspects of literacy throughout our school and improve the quality of education provided to our students.
We look forward to continued support from Hands Across the Sea; and on the behalf of my school, I once again express my deepest gratitude for their exceptional contributions.
Nicole Romain-Saiyed (Mrs.)
Language Teacher & Library Coordinator