Dr. William Connor Primary School (St. Kitts)
350 students • Grades K to 6
Jean Nisbette Boddie, Principal
Shawndreka Pringle, Librarian
A Shining Star! The library at Dr. William Connor Primary School, a busy urban school in Basseterre, the capital city of St. Kitts, has been functioning well for several years now: a large, well-organized space, the collection arranged artfully, with book covers facing out, and an embrace of reading by many of the school’s 331 Grade K to Grade 6 students. But in the last year or so, a star has been born at the library: Lisa Pringle, the Librarian. Lisa has further energized the library and students with her creative themes and programs.
Notes Hands Literacy Link Heidi Fagerberg, “Dr. William Connor Primary school has shined this year. All the support from the Principal making the library a priority, to the librarian making the library the place to be, to the teacher’s commitment to bringing the children to library time and for the ongoing support from Library Services, Petrine Clarke and her staff, as well as the parents supporting the lending program and making sure their children take care of the books and return them. It takes a village to raise a child and Dr. William Connor Primary is doing just that with their library.
“There has been an increase in borrowing in the past two school years. Dr. William Connor provided input as we piloted a borrowing record tally sheet to use. It has been one of the first schools to have term comparisons and they show increased borrowing numbers, which is a great sign of library development. Lisa Pringle, the teacher-librarian, has outdone herself, working tirelessly outside of school terms to prepare the library space and activities. I have enjoyed helping her strive for greatness. From monthly changes in displays that encourage teachers and children to come to the library, to interactive read alouds and reading competitions with unique prize-giving techniques, to sharing with other schools her ideas and her materials. She continues to try new things to inspire a love of reading in the little ones.
“One of the things we are working on at the school is creating an intrinsic motivation to read by providing books that children really want to read. But we are also trying to reach reluctant readers with extrinsic motivation using positive reinforcement techniques and incentives. For example, Lisa has filled 200 balls with M&Ms as reading prizes—she has hung the M&Ms balls—the motivation!—from the library ceiling.
“Lisa has also created a grab bag (also known as a dip bag) with 100 lines/excerpts from books in the library written on slips of papers. Children will dip and pick a paper and if they successfully are able to read the excerpt, they get to cut down an M&Ms ball. This will not only let them practice their reading skills, but share with them a book excerpt they may not know about from the library. Lisa also has six 24-inch balls as prizes for the children who read the most books in the literacy week of activities, and two five-foot balls for children for overall exemplary library behavior—showing readiness, interest, attendance, proper care of books, returned books on time, and more.
“Lisa has been modeling her methods and sharing best practices, many adapted from the Hands Teachers Resource Guide to the Library (Grades K-3), with library staff at every primary school across St. Kitts. Because she is so dedicated and creative, and is getting support from Ministry of Education, her principal, the teachers, parents, and us at Hands Across the Sea, she is a peer mentor and a shining star.”
Tucker Clarke Primary School (St. Kitts)
450 students • Grades K to 6
Mr. Leslie Richardson, Principal
Beverly Prentice, Librarian
Busy, busy, busy! Have we mentioned that Tucker clarke Primary School, one of the largest on St. Kitts, is busy? Prior to the Covid-19 school closures it certainly was—and we expect, when schols reopen in September, the bustling will continue. The school has a high number of eager readers, and that includes the teaching staff. Miss Petty, the Grade 2 teacher, is on track to receive a special allotment of books for her class, courtesy of Colleen, a Hands donor, and we hope that additional Hands donors step up to help fund books for the rest of the school. When we send books to Tucker Clarke (since 2014 Hands has sent 2,967 asked-for books), we know that they will be read, and re-read, and re-re-read. Because this is a school that is not only very very busy, it is very busy reading.