Initiatives to improve literacy
Maltese learner support initiatives around improving literacy are set within an overall context of a National Literacy Strategy for All which sought to consolidate current national programmes which has involved over 8000 students per year. Schools are able to plan and run their own literacy support projects for their own pupils and students who may need this. These initiatives are funded through grants, mainly from the local authorities.
The following are examples of recent Maltese initiatives around improving literacy:
1) Mobilising home and classroom libraries: this initiative has aimed to increase and improve the reading materials in primary school libraries. Appealing and attractive materials have been made available in Maltese and English. Building on this, a national campaign through parents’ school meetings in schools and an accessible online policy has encouraged parents and caregivers to become involved by reading with and to their children at home. A total number of 2,225 pupils, in 126 classrooms, in 20 primary across Malta and Gozo have benefitted from the ‘Aqra Kemm Tfla’ programme. 11,500 books have been distributed in these classrooms.
The initial phase of the programme ran in 16 primary schools by the National Literacy Agency of the Ministry for Education. The books are both fiction and non-fiction in Maltese and English. Each book was levelled according to the children’s reading age and colour-coded. Reading records have been created to help teachers to establish a child’s reading level. The primary intention was to render the reading experience enjoyable and fruitful. Guidelines on good practices in the use of levelled readers in classroom libraries were provided to schools. Books are distributed by librarians and reading is monitored by classroom teachers.
In many schools, libraries are open during lesson hours and during breaks. In special circumstances involving students with a statement of needs or SEBD students, libraries welcome such students to engage in reading and interactive activities. During breaks libraries are open for all students.
2) L-Ambaxxatur tal-Qari/Reading Ambassadors Project: has involved in the Ministry for Education appointing local personalities to promote reading in schools through organised events involving different classes. These personalities share their experiences of reading and act as role models to encourage positive attitudes towards reading.
A total number of 1,905 students in 32 schools and centres across Malta and Gozo have benefitted from the Reading Ambassadors programme. 34 Reading Ambassadors have taken part in this programme and 984 books were distributed in classroom-libraries during these activities.