Regional Educators meet to strengthen the teaching of Early Grade Reading in the OECS!

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OECS/USAID Early Learners Program (ELP) Media Release

Thursday, January 23, 2020 — The OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme (ELP) hosted a regional conference for Education Officers (EOs) to foster a collaborative approach to strengthening the teaching of reading in six OECS Member States (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint​​​​Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).

The conference which was held at the Harbour Club in Saint Lucia from January 21st to January 22nd focused on the overall approach and execution of the ELP within the OECS Member States and the activities which have supported this approach.

Over the lifespan of the ELP programme, teams of literacy specialists have been formed in each country and over the last two and a half years have worked with over 2,800 educators to enhance the teaching of reading.  Through workshops and school-based coaching, teachers have explored new and exciting methods of teaching. They have been supported through the provision of over 27,000 student books and an estimated 6,400 volumes for teachers.  The result has been greater engagement of students in reading and advancement of reading achievement in the region.

The ELP team extends to teachers, principals, curriculum officers, parents, senior officials and Education Officers, who have a pivotal role in reading development as they link schools to national initiatives.  The Education Officers assist school leaders with the development of goals and provide continued support as schools seek to develop these goals and further direct resources to where they are most needed.  Hence the reason for a two-day conference with the Education Officers from the six Member States to address the ELP and its impact.  There are a number of critical objectives for this conference including: to present and discuss research on reading instruction, to discuss the achievements and challenges of implementing the ELP and to explore strategies and mechanisms for sustainability and enhancement of reading achievement within the Six Member States.

According to Head of the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission, Sisera Simon:

“Changes in education require committed leadership, expertise and energy, and the Education officers are at the epicentre of the education sector and can fundamentally advocate for and facilitate change. We are keen to assist the Education Officers to develop a strategy to support reading enhancement, as early grade reading continues to have significant impact on the reading success of students across the OECS. We have built significant momentum in reading instruction within the OECS, through the ELP, and it is imperative to continue this work.”

To date, the ELP has recorded some tangible outputs of the programme where 350 OECS Primary schools received Two Million United States Dollars in teaching and learning materials, over 30,000 students have directly benefited from improved reading instruction and learning materials. Additionally, 2025 teachers have benefited from the in-service training of teaching of reading and individualized coaching and instruction practices. The ELP programme must continue to provide this level of benefit in the future to improve the reading statistics for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students within the OECS Member States towards the overall objective of ensuring that Every Learner Succeeds.


The OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme is a Programme within the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission and was established in March 2015 to improve the reading skills of children in the early primary grades with the goal of providing a foundation for improved learning outcomes and enhanced opportunities for students in the six (6) independent Member States of the OECS (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines). The OECS/USAID ELP will run through to September 2020 developing and implementing several initiatives that continue the advancement of early grade reading throughout the OECS.

More information regarding the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme Contact: 

ELP Office at the Education Development Management Unit (OECS Commission) 453-0669 email:

Tracey Warner-Arnold (Branding & Marking Consultant) 718-1510 email:

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