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Posted: Monday, June 1, 2015. 9:25 pm CST.

Monday, June 1st, 2015. Chrisbert Garcia Reporting: Belize has a literacy rate of 84.1% which is relatively 11358721_820560488030525_14882688_ngood compared to parts of Asia and Africa that have more illiterate people than literate ones but compared to other Caribbean countries like Barbados that has 99% and Cayman Islands with 99.7% of their populations being able to read, there is much room for improvement in our country.

Trying to improve this rate and encourage students to like reading from an early age, Dr. Joan Cardenas deep in the Southern town of Punta Gorda has been dedicating her spare time for the past few years to working with primary school students, improving their English skills.

Sometime last week Dr. Cardenas met with her group of infant and standard five students at St. Benedict R.C School like she has been doing every week since 2013, to help children as young as five years old to read fluently.

The infant students are each paired with a standard five student who helps them with their reading as part of the ‘Buddy’ system that Dr. Joan uses.

This program, is made possible by the voluntary work of Dr. Cardenas, who has shown to vastly improve the reading and writing capabilities of the participating students and will continue next school year with an all new set of students. 11272315_820560331363874_1034838096_n

Dr. Cardenas also works with a separate group of 10 students who participated in a spelling bee she organized using unfamiliar words from their Social Studies classes.

Four of these students who won in the preliminary round of the spelling bee competed in the final round on Friday.

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