Educator urges teaching pre-schoolers to read early

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Preschool teachers were told that they cannot prevent their students from becoming criminals, but they must equip themselves with the tools to prepare the young minds for the world.
In addressing teachers, acting principal of the Antigua State College (ASC), Dr. Patricia Benn, told educators that young children can learn to read early but it requires the meticulous and dedicated effort of their teachers.
“Children who go to preschool are likely to read at grade level by grade three, and persons who learn to read by grade three are less likely to drop out of school; when they stay in school, they are more likely not to become vagrants and criminals or end up in prison,” Benn said.
Speaking to a room packed with mostly female educators to mark Professional Development Day, Dr. Benn referenced the “School to prison pipeline,” research that states children who develop sound reading skills at an early age tend to become productive members of their societies.
Dr. Benn challenged educators to play their roles well so that children will be excited about learning to read.
The vice-principal, who has been working at the ASC for over 20 years, said that young children can learn to read with the right motivation.
“Then after that, they read to learn,” Dr. Benn added. “As you broaden your knowledge base and explore career paths in early childhood education, many of you may be at preschool now, but look at the ladder,” she posited.
Dr. Benn added that her colleagues should not limit themselves and become comfortable with their current responsibilities, but should pursue higher learning that will provide avenues to advance their personal development.
The educator, who spent 17 years in the Department of Teacher Training, where she served as the head for 10 years, has been the vice principal of the ASC for four years and currently serves as the acting principal.

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