Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2015 Contents C7
Thursday, June 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
One academic year in Alta has been a
tremendous year of success in delivering
free literacy classes to hundreds of stu-
dents, as well as engaging in activities that
realised some major goals in promoting
literacy and the emerging reader.
For those unfamiliar with the Alta year,
it is divided into three terms matching the
school year and starts with national student
registration at libraries in the first week of
term in September.
With the end of this academic year, how-
ever, Alta journeys into a two-month period
of growth and transformation -- like a
chrysalis -- to maturity and sustainability.
At the start of academic year 2014/15,
and with support from the Citizen Security
Programme, student registration was boosted
by the launch of Alta s anti-stigma cam-
paign. This campaign, long thought to be
the key in increasing student turnout at
registration, took shape in the form of spoken
word poetry and was used in radio and tel-
evision public service announcements in
the lead up to registration.
Presently, videos of these poems, which
tell the realities non-readers face daily, performed
by members of the 2Cents Movement, can be accessed
on demand on Alta s YouTube channel. By taking
Alta s message to the Web, these videos are able to
be shared by anyone supporting literacy throughout
the academic year, and can also encourage potential
students and volunteers to "go brave" and "get in"
For the children who spend their time on YouTube
these videos can provide a source of edutainment
and potentially reach parents who may find difficulty
connecting with their child s academic needs as a
result of low literacy.
Another exciting activity this academic year was
a breakthrough partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest
and Alta Reading Circles in the form of specially
planned writers visits.
The writers series was conceptualised as a way
to promote literacy through literature by inviting
some of Trinidad and Tobago s best writers and par-
ticipants of the annual Bocas Lit Fest to read from
their books and talk to literacy students about their
The first series of readings was held in Term 1 and
the second in Term 3, bringing 15 writers to Alta stu-
dents with work ranging from the published Caribbean
literary canon to poetry to modern science fiction.
Students were not only firing questions and providing
feedback to the authors, but many of them endorsed
their approval of the author s work by purchasing
books, which in some cases was their first book pur-
chase for leisure.
By inviting writers in, reading became accessible
and Alta looks forward to the next academic year
where writers have already promised to pay their
new fans regular visits.
Another first for Alta was the introduction of Open
Days to provide a look inside the Alta classroom, and
break down the invisible barrier of the adult literacy
classroom. This event returned to the personal, com-
munity-level engagement by allowing students to
invite friends, neighbours and our venue hosts.
Though the event identified specific venues, Alta s
volunteer tutors were supportive and enthusiastic
for the interest shown by visitors and expressed hope
that Open Days will join the Alta calendar in future.
This year has also been the year that a new chapter
in Alta s programme delivery unfolds. Alta Online,
an interactive, learner-centred application is being
carefully put together to help address the many
requests for more Alta class locations.
Alta Online means the classroom can be the comfort
of someone s living room or in their hand, using a
computer or tablet with a reliable Internet connection.
Though access to this learning tool will become
available in late September/October, the reality of its
existence is now well-established fact and with the
final touches and testing of Level 1 beginning ahead
of the new school year, Alta students can now look
forward to keeping in step with this modern learning
With Alta Online, the new academic year will see
Alta as a 21st century, regional organisation poised
to sustain and succeed in our mission to update and
innovate adult literacy for the years ahead.
What happens in the chrysalis
Have you considered becoming a volunteer
or are you interested in joining an Alta class?
Call 624-2582/653-4656 to learn how to
start the journey. Volunteer, Donate, Sponsor-
a-student. Like us on Facebook or subscribe
to our YouTube Channel: Alta Trinidad.
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