Library worker teaching adults to read virtually

May 14, 2020

Realising that many of the adults she has encountered were unable to navigate their way through simple reading material, Kayon Williams is administering online literacy classes.

With more persons being at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, Williams, a records clerk at the Jamaica Library Service, thought it was a good time to offer the classes.

"Looking at what we are going through with COVID-19 and the changes it has brought about, this is a good time for persons to uplift themselves through reading and comprehension," Williams told THE STAR. "I am cognisant of the fact that persons have their financial constraints and even though I am teaching them, my aim is not to break their pockets but to make them better versions of themselves."

Being in an environment where persons are constantly seeking to harvest information, Williams knows the challenge it posts for persons who are illiterate.

"In my field of work I realise that a lot of adults are not reading and comprehending well," she said. "Sometimes adults come into the library to collect information and they have a problem to search for the information they need and apply it. When I do my observation, I realise that they cannot read."

She said that contrary to popular belief, many persons who are considered illiterate can handle smartphones and are able to navigate the Internet and set up Zoom, the platform through which she runs her classes.

It's not difficult

"If not they can always have someone help them to set it up for them and show them the ropes until they become familiar with the platform. It's not difficult to handle for the student," she said. "It is quite interesting how persons who are not able to read navigate the Internet with unbelievable skill and are able to download the various apps that are of interest to them."

Williams sees the online platform as the ideal setting for adults, especially to express themselves and be relaxed.

"When it comes to adults, pride and being afraid, they don't want to be in a setting where they have other persons watching them, making them feel as though they are not on their level," she said. "The Zoom classes will be the best because they can stay home in their private space and have a one on one with me and learn."

The 32-year old, who was a National Reading Competition champion in 2013, believes she has grasped the English language and has enough experience to benefit her students.

"I have tutored persons to read before so I know how it can be beneficial. Within three weeks to a month, there can be a lot of progress, " she said. "I also have a very good people person personality. I meet everyone at their level so I have an excellent relationship with people. It doesn't matter who you are, I can reach to your level and I never let anyone who I come across during tutoring feel less of a person."

Her aim is allow as many persons as possible to have a life changing experience.

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