By Tina S. Mehnpaine
About nine teachers selected from Montserrado and Margibi counties have received certificates after completing a 3-month basic courses in Reading.
The training was organized by The Early Grades Reading Endorsement (TEGRE) Program in Duozon, Margibi County.
The teachers were taught in reading skills such as phonics, spelling, oral language, fluency, and comprehension.
TEGRE is a non-profit organization that is involved in providing intensive staff development for reading teachers at early grade levels (K2 to third grade).
The program was developed by Dr. Geri Melosh a former Peace Corps volunteer who is the Executive Director of the US-based nonprofit organization, the “Children’s Reading Center”.
Chris Z. Lan, Special Assistant in the office of the Assistant Minister of Education for Teacher’s Education, cautioned the teachers to apply knowledge learned so that students can be able to improve their reading skills.
In post-war Liberia, reading and spelling are challenging subjects for a lot of students; something that has brought discredit to the student population as writing and speaking can manifest in many quarters.
He said when teachers are trained in reading, it will help students develop the culture of reading.
”I believe this program is about helping students to improve their reading skills; therefore you, the teachers, must apply the skills learned from this training,” he noted.
Lan stressed the need for the program to be extended to the rural areas of the country to enhance the reading skills of both teachers and students.
“Most of our problems in the educational sector is that many rural teachers are not equipped with necessary reading skills,” he said.
Lan further stated that even at Liberians universities it is observed that students are unable to read well.
“It is a serious challenge when it comes to reading even at the universities. As educators, we need to be very passionate about what we are teaching, especially when it comes to reading,” he added.
Also speaking, the President of Liberia Reads, Siaffa Korkoya, said that a brand new day has come for Liberian teachers as his organization will continue to build the capacities of teachers.
“Reading matters, and we want our students to embrace the culture of reading,” he said.
According to Mr. Korkoya, the TEGRE program is subsequently extending to the rural areas with the help of the Ministry of Education.
“This is just a sign that something better is coming for our teachers,” he said.
Korkoya said that in August 2019, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Ministry of Education and since then they have been working together to improve the capacity of teachers in the area of Reading.
Cyrus Lincoln, one of the teachers, expressed gratitude to TEGRE for the knowledge acquired and pledged that they will support to build the reading skills of students.
He encouraged his colleagues to take the teaching profession seriously and become better.