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Sierra Leone News: Reading culture a must for quality output

The culture of reading has dropped drastically over the years among Sierra Leoneans. Illiteracy has run rampant, especially among young people.
In order to restore the culture of reading, PEN Sierra Leone, with support from World Bank and the Ministry of Education on Thursday 14 December 2017, started the early grade reading competition, ranging from classes 1-4. It is a two step reading competition from classes 1- 2 and from classes 3-4.
The aim of the competition is to promote the culture of reading among children through awareness raising on the importance of developing early grade reading skills and also aims to mobilize stakeholders to encourage children to develop the habit of reading through motivation from a national reading competition.
The Chair for the event, Issa Bangura, noted, “When children are young, it is the best time to engage them academically so that they will abreast with academic issues as they grow.”
Bangura noted, “It is time to build back the reading culture among Sierra Leoneans starting from the school going pupils.”
Juma Momoh said, “Some pupils had gone through preschool on to university and yet still, they can’t read. The competition will start from district level, regional and to national level. And, 400 schools are expected to take part with two pupils from each school.”
He underscored that two winners will emerge from each district, noting that 8 winners from the regional competition will contest at the national competition where the eventual winner will bag Le1,500,000. The first runner up will take home Le1,000,000 Leones and Le750,000 for the second runner-up. The pupils were being tested in three reading areas: reading and comprehension, pronunciation and spelling.
Isha Jalloh, 8-years old, is a participant in the reading competition. She noted, “I am very happy to be part of such a competition and with my preparation I hope to win the grand final.
Another participant also Desmond Cole said “for over two weeks my teacher and parent had prepared me thoroughly for this competition and I am confident of winning the Le1.5 million.
By Mohamed J. Bah
Friday December 15, 2017.

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