From the time it opened as one of the first shops in the Camana Bay Town Centre in December 2007, Books & Books has promoted literacy in the Cayman Islands, particularly with children.
As the Town Centre prepares to observe Literacy Month in September, Books & Books will once again herald the associated activities.
Terry Cleaver, the manager of Books & Books, says the theme of this year’s Literacy Month is one children will really enjoy.
“The central theme is ‘Find your Adventure in Reading’ and we will be promoting a plethora of titles perfect for tots to teens,” he says. One of the month-long events promoting literacy during September is an “Adventure Scavenger Hunt” in which children pick up a Camana Bay map that shows the location of signs depicting various characters or iconic elements from famous books including the Harry Potter series, “The Wizard of Oz,” “James and the Giant Peach” and many more. When they find the signs, the children must identify the book from which the characters or elements originate.
By linking reading to the adventure of a scavenger hunt and to adventure books, Cleaver says it can promote reading by children who might not necessarily want to read otherwise. He says he was once such as child.
“I wasn’t a great reader initially. I was a typical boy obsessed by sport, but after my parents put the first ‘Famous Five’ novel in my hand one wet Sunday afternoon, I was hooked on reading for life,” he says. “This is what we want to achieve this Literacy Month; we want to encourage a reluctant reader to find that one book that kick-starts their reading journey.”
Cayman International School English teacher Peyton Tyrie says every child is a reader if you find him or her the right books. “When students tell me they don’t like reading, I always ask them if they like stories,” he says. “Invariably, the answer is yes. Then it’s only a matter of finding a book that tells a story they like. If we help them to think of books as a means of telling an amazing story, it can begin to change their mindset.”
At Books & Books, children will have the opportunity to choose their adventure in reading.
“I have thousands of books just waiting to take the reader on an incredible journey,” says Cleaver. “A reading journey is utterly personal; the author provides the setting and the backbone of the story, but the rest is up to the imaginations of readers who add colour, texture, scenery, humour and even unique voices for the characters.”
Other Literacy Month activities include free adventure-themed live story readings and singalongs at Books & Books, adventure movies as part of the Kids Club at Regal Camana Bay Stadium 6 cinemas and an invitation throughout September to visit the Camana Bay Reading Tree in the Visitor Centre, where children can bring a book to add to the collection and take one home with them in return.
Camana Bay Times is also observing Literacy Month through several other articles in this month’s edition. There’s author Faye Lippitt’s humorous tale about how she got her stubborn sons to enjoy reading through the adventures of Harry Potter and Captain Underpants. There’s an article about how important reading has become in the digital age, a notion with which Tyrie agrees.
“It’s clear that the future of communication will be digital,” he says. “The amazing thing about social media and the internet in general, is that we are all producers of content, in addition to being consumers. Children need to develop those digital literacy skills so that they can participate and have their voices heard.”
Another article in this edition shares details about the competition Books & Books is having with regard to the Christmas Advent calendar. And finally, there’s an article about the Literacy Is For Everyone — LIFE — organisation’s call for volunteers to read with children. Cleaver’s hope is that Literacy Month can serve as a rallying cry to read a book.
“Reading is awesome,” he says. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A book has been the best portable tablet since the printing presses fired into action during the 16th century.”