Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 25, 2016 (SKNIS): With a fluent style, smooth tone, and an accompanying brisk pace, Devshi Saxena, a Grade 5 student at the Nevis Academy Primary School was adjudged the winner of the 2016 Courts Schools Reading Competition National Finals held on Tuesday (October 25) at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
“I feel good and I’m excited that I won and I really appreciate the trophy and all the gifts they gave me,” the young girl said. “I’m excited and I am proud of myself.”
The nine-year-old was quite impressive as she read a short story entitled “The Village Dinosaur” and also a press release for the fictional Courts News Now. The other participants in the 8th annual reading competition were Toni Allen of the Tucker Clarke Primary School representing the Basseterre Zone, Aleks Joshua Condell of the George Moody Primary School representing the Private Schools Zone, D’Jaaden Dunrod of the Cayon Primary School representing the East Zone, T’Shari Douglas of the Dieppe Bay Primary School representing the West Zone, and Ayana Meade of the Elizabeth Pemberton School representing Nevis Zone 2. Ms. Saxena represented Nevis Zone 1.
“I learnt how to pronounce my words properly, which was very hard for me because I have a different accent,” Saxena said. She credited the school’s principal Lucia Wilkinson for helping her overcome her challenges.
The reading competition is just one of many taking place across the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sub-region.
David Jeetlall, Branch Manager of Courts St. Kitts and Nevis, said that his company cared about the development of local children and was committed to the fight to eradicate illiteracy and would partner with the various Ministries of Education to achieve this goal.
“We understand that the ability to read is key to achieving a better quality of life and if the importance of reading is not encouraged our youth will not be able to enjoy life‘s simple pleasures,” Mr. Jeetlall said. “The Courts OECS Reading Competition has indeed changed many young lives in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica. It is critical for us especially to target the 8-to-9 year old age group as we believe this is the ideal time to capture their imagination and develop their interest.”
The Courts OECS Reading Competition is held in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education. St. Kitts and Nevis’ Deputy Chief Education Officer, Darryl Lloyd, spoke about the benefits of the competition and said its purpose cannot be overstated.
“This reading competition takes place at an opportune time when the OECS islands are faced with the challenge of reading comprehension skills and where many of our students, particularly at the lower infant departments, have been deemed reluctant readers,” Mr. Lloyd said.
The senior education official quoted the results of numerous studies that showed that reading helps to increase the knowledge of readers and gives them an edge over others that do not spend time in a book. Mr. Lloyd also thanked Courts for introducing the programme, which he said has become a staple in the Ministry of Education.
Ms. Saxena will now represent the Federation in the Regional contest to be held in St. Kitts and Nevis in the near future.