Born To Succeed by Marcel R. Hutson

Born To Succeed by Marcel R. Hutson

The purpose of the book, Born to Succeed: A collaborative approach to developing the God-given literacy potential of students in the early grades is to offer a uniquely informed vision of the procedures that can be taken to significantly improve the literacy performance of students thus reducing the devastating impact of illiteracy on their future. The main thesis of the book is, improvement of the literacy performance of students is attainable through the use of a holistic transformational model among stakeholders that incorporates shalom and servant leadership. The book is divided into seven explicitly written chapters.

Chapter 1 explains the key concepts of the book such as shalom and servant leadership. The chapter also points to extensive research material on the impact of illiteracy on the ability of students to matriculate. Chapter 2 examines the problem up close, takes a look at the source of the author's inspiration for his writing and the setting of the stage for transformation. Chapter 3 offers several perspectives on the subject matter. These perspectives include, for example, factors contributing to poor literacy performance of students and a pathway for change, the role of principals' and teachers' leadership in improving the literacy performance of students, the role of parents or caregivers, the necessity of quality monitoring and supervision of literacy programs by supervising officers, the importance of professional development and the like. Chapter 4 provides a theological basis for literacy in the context of its value. It addresses the power of unity, genuine service and prosperity, justice and morality. Chapter 5 establishes a case for the use of the suggested transformational model through research done by the author in a sampled school. Here the author employs the quantitative method of the t-test to prove his case. Chapter 6 discusses how some foundational literacy materials may be utilised by teachers and parents or caregivers to help students. Some topics elaborated on includes using data to inform teaching and learning, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, getting non-writers interested in writing and so forth. Chapter 7 elucidates the need to embrace the transformational model. It presents a forward look and implications for Government Ministries of Education, teachers, parents or caregivers, principals and education officers.

The book also provides some bonus materials for readers in its appendices. Such materials include questionnaires and interview questions for gathering data from teachers and parents or caregivers and principals and education supervisors respectively on their ability to effectively deliver literacy programs. This section culminates with a well-designed holistic literacy training plan that may be used or modified for the improvement of the literacy performance of students.

This book is a must-read for all educators, researchers and government and non-government organisations who are serious about changing the status quo.

Dr. Hutson, a Guyanese, has more than 30 years as a devout educator where he served as a school teacher, Head of the Social Studies Department at St John's College, District Education Officer, Regional Education Officer, Principal Education Officer, Assistant Chief Education Officer, Deputy Chief Education Officer and currently Chief Education Officer.He holds a Trained Class 1 Grade 1 Teachers' Certificate (TTC), Certificate in Reforming School Supervision for Quality Improvement from the International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP), Bachelor of Social Science-Sociology (B. Sc. Soc.), Bachelor of Arts-Theology (B. A. Th.), Post Graduate Diploma in Education Administration (Dip. Ed.), Master in Education Management, Planning and Supervision (M. Ed.) and Doctorate in Transformational Leadership (DTL).The book is a must-read!

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