(CMR) Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE), a leading advocate for literacy and education, has announced that it has reached the incredible milestone of donating 80,000 books to the Cayman Islands public school system, preschools, and communities.
Since its establishment in 2012, LIFE has been dedicated to addressing the issues of low literacy levels in the Cayman Islands through long-term solutions and inclusive programs.
LIFE’s signature programs, including Book Donations, Paired Reading, Thrive By Five, Partners in Print, and the Education for Everyone Project, aim to provide children of all ages and backgrounds with the tools and support needed to foster their love of reading. These programs are designed to ensure that high-interest, developmentally appropriate books and educational resources are accessible to all children.
As the largest donor of books to the public school system, LIFE has donated over 48,000 books in the last 4-5 years. This includes the provision of classroom libraries for every primary school and textbooks needed for student examination preparation.
Recently, LIFE held its first-ever Book Fairs, donating 502 books to the students at Red Bay Primary School and Edna Moyle Primary School. The Book Fairs were inspired by research in the latest Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, which found that children are more likely to engage in reading for fun when they have chosen their own books. The enthusiasm of the students in attendance reflected the success of this initiative.
“LIFE is thrilled to have reached this incredible milestone of 80,000 books donated,” said Erin Galatopoulos, LIFE’s Book Donations Coordinator.
“With our goal of providing classroom libraries for all government primary schools in Cayman achieved last year, we are focusing on developing the classroom libraries of John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School, as well as providing books for students' homes and supporting LIFE's Early Childhood programs,” Galatopoulos added.
The recent Government Data Report for the Academic Year 2021–22 revealed that only 27% of the assessed Year 6 students at government primary schools met expectations in reading, writing, and arithmetic during the previous academic year.
“These findings are very troubling. They highlight the urgent need to improve literacy outcomes for Cayman’s children. We are committed to extending our programs and initiatives to more children and families, emphasizing the importance of language and fostering a love of reading. We are immensely grateful to our generous donors, dedicated volunteers, and community partners as their support is instrumental in our mission,” said LIFE’s Executive Director, Erica Dell’Oglio.
LIFE frequently collaborates with other education and community-focused organizations, including the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit (ECCEU), the Cayman Islands Early Childhood Association (CIECA), the Family Resource Centre, and other non-profits, to maximize their impact in the community.