The public school system in Roatan is comprised of 3820 students in 173 classrooms in 49 schools. The majority of these schools do not have a library so the two PIER bookmobiles with their staff, take the library to them on a rotating schedule. The bookmobiles are much more than a lending library. The Librarian and Reading Specialist create Story-in-a-Bag kits that combine reading, comprehension and activities that vary from math to science. This approach brings a different level of teaching to the students – and teachers are involved so they learn how to better engage their pupils. PIER’s programs are very popular with teachers as well as students.
While the Librarian helps students select books, the Reading Specialist presents our “Story- in- a -Bag” products to students in classrooms. Their teaching techniques not only enrich the student experience, but also demonstrate new ways rather than the standard rote copying from the blackboard. Our staff prepares new “Stories in a Bag” each year during school vacation period, so both students and teachers have new experiences when the new school year begins in February. The first years were challenging, however now the teachers realize the benefit to the children and themselves and are begging PIER to visit the schools more often.
All lessons [Story-in-a-bag] are designed to match the National Curriculum standards and coordinate with national academic calendars. Our staff confer with teachers and school directors to align with their academic priorities. It is through these programs that PIER has become a valuable resource for teachers, students and parents as well as an admired organization among Roatan’s residents. Last March, upon the closure of Roatan schools, our staff began making learning videos that are sent to teachers who in turn send them to their students. This October, the Board has decided to park the large colorfully painted Bookmobile in a community where a large number of students will have access to the library and special programs.