A locally-based Association of Literacy Educators (ALE), on July 20,2018, graduated 80 teachers and principals who completed a 12-day early grade training held at the Emmanuel J. Hunter Memorial Academy in Monrovia.
The ceremony marks the 10th summer training of local teachers in early grade reading strategies at low cost that is highly effective for primary curriculum in the country’s school system. ALE’s goal is to create a strong foundation in education for children through capacity-building to read well.
The program, under the theme, “Liberia Reads Curriculum,” was developed by a former Peace Corps Volunteer in 2009 for two schools in Monrovia; but the program has over 200 educators in 29 schools only in Montserrado, Margibi, and Bong counties.
ALE’s Founder and International Director, Dr. Geri Melosh, said the program started with two of YMCA’s schools, four teachers from 1st and 2nd grades, and two principals.
Dr. Melosh said the program has grown with children reading in line with international standards, which indicates that the country’s education system was “impressive and far improved.
“Our program costs US$40 a year per student, but the outcome are twice above the international benchmark set for reading,” Melosh said.
She noted that the over-crowded classrooms is one of the major challenges facing the program in getting students to read well. She added that the program encourages schools to maintain a class-size of at least 30 students.
Mrs. Jessie B. Fagans, Principal of Emmanuel J. Hunters, expressed joy for winning “exemplary school” of Liberia Reads program, “because we have taught our students over the years how to read, with the ALE helping schools to develop reading and speaking skills.”
Welton Redd, an instructor who graduated from the program, said it is a great idea to have elementary students develop reading skills.
“I have been with the program since 2014, because it is a nice idea to apply such a system in the classroom,“ Redd said.