A lot to appreciate A newsLetter By The Adult literacy Tutors Association (ALTA) Volume 26 || Issue 1


Saturday 23rd March 2019

The Botanic Gardens || 2:30pm-5:00pm

Amanda McIntyre- Her words were powerful-much like her presence.

Readings under the Trees was held on Saturday 23rd March 2019 at the Botanic Gardens. The annual event brings together published and upcoming authors and poets in Trinidad and Tobago to share their work with ALTA students, tutors, sponsors, and the general public. Several hundred patrons from diverse backgrounds brought their blankets, refreshments and close friends to enjoy an afternoon of Caribbean literature against the backdrop of tall trees, blue skies, steady breezes, and radiant sunshine.

Students, tutors and patrons at Readings under the Trees were treated to profound spoken word performances by the 2 Cents Movement.

Janice Ferreira, past tutor and lifelong friend of ALTA, was enthusiastic about the experience, “Thoroughly enjoyed it - wonderful idea. Gives writers a voice, a platform, confidence. And us, the audience, total enjoyment in beautiful, relaxing surroundings lifting us out of the stressful state we are living in.”

Readings under the Trees is more than just a celebration of reading and local literature. It is meant to inspire ALTA students to read not just to function and survive, but to read for pleasure. And the authors who gave up their Saturday afternoon free of charge were certainly inspiring! The span of styles and genres offered something for everyone.

Author Tracy Assing picks up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “No one writes to the Colonel & other stories” from 'For the Love of Reading' Book Corner.

ALTA extends a big, big thank you to the 28 authors who read their work and is pleased that they too enjoyed the experience. Andre Bagoo commented, “Had glorious fun reading new poetry on Saturday for ALTA’s Readings under the Trees event.”

Andre Bagoo recites 'The Life of the Scarlet Ibis' which brought insight to our listeners on the life of our National Bird.
Lylah Persad gave a dramatic reading under the Kids' Tree.

Lylah Persad, who read at the Kid’s Tree, had this to say, “We celebrated our two year anniversary of “Tales from the Forest” with ALTA TT Readings under the Trees. An excellent initiative! It was a pleasure sitting and reading from our books and children had their copies on spot. So cool! Many thanks for including me ALTA!”

Author Amanda McIntyre saw the initiative as a means of encouraging kids and upcoming writers to meet and interact with Caribbean authors who have become legends in their own right and an opportunity for recently published writers to have their work promoted. A commentator on Facebook endorsed this in this message: “It was awesome. I'm sorry my eldest granddaughter was unable to attend though. She loves to write stories and poems. Next year please God, I'll invite students and parents from my school. Kudos!”

Aliya Blake at just twelve years old, published her first children's book entitled 'Cliffhangers'.
Judy Raymond reads about the history of dance with Beryl McBurnie.

‘For the Love of Reading’, an organisation that promotes reading by sharing books in community spaces at no cost, set up a mobile Book Corner, which allowed patrons to take a book home. Once finished reading it, they can either return it to the Book Corner or pass it on. Patrons flocked to the Book Corner which had a wide variety of international bestsellers. “We thought it would be a great idea to share some physical books, as ALTA was sharing the readings from local authors,” stated Aara Cleghorn, co-founder of ‘For the Love of Reading’.

The crowd loved Arielle John's profound and energetic performances!

While the readers at all the trees were warmly received and appreciated, the most applauded readers stood under the most populated tree. These were the students of ALTA, who firmly planted their feet on the ground and read with confidence to all present. The students shared their life experiences, in particular the challenges they faced and the empowerment that ALTA continues to provide to them. One listener captured the prevailing view saying “I was really touched by the personal pieces recited by the ALTA students. Hearing their stories, struggles and victories was very inspirational.”

Portia Subran- Writing that evoked strong emotion and kept us engaged.

Students generally expressed a feeling of exhilaration after the open-air reading experience - a sense of freedom pervaded amongst those who found the courage to share. It bodes well for ALTA’s continued goal of diminishing the shame factor,


We have great news to share! Check out our Social Media and look out for this sound icon. Our content will have audio recordings so potential students can listen to our content and read along if they choose to. The recordings will be done by members of our staff and we plan to make these as fun and creative as we can.! At ALTA we are committed to empowering adults through literacy!


ALTA Founder Paula Lucie-Smith, having been awarded an UWI honorary doctorate in October 2018, has accepted the position of Chancellor's nominee on the UWI St Augustine Campus Council. The Campus Council is the governing and executive body of the Campus, and Paula’s presence on this council gives a voice to both the NGO sector and adult literacy issues


We extend best wishes to staff members who have moved on to new professional opportunities and we sincerely thank them for their service to ALTA!

We would like to warmly welcome two new staff members: Communications Officer Shahad Ali and Receptionist Shaakira Isaac.

Special thanks to tutor Mary McBurnette for stepping in at reception in Belmont to tide us over while we sought to fill this position.

Tejumade Hendrickson was promoted from Administrator Accounts & Funding to Executive Officer effective March 1. Founder Paula Lucie-Smith has happily handed over some of her management responsibilities to Teju.


If you would like to partner or work with us, send us an email at communications@alta-tt.org


ALTA is committed to ongoing training and the Belmont training centre hosted first Youth Lit tutors and then ALTA Coordinators on two Saturdays in January.

The focus for Youth Lit tutors was ‘Understanding our Students’ with each tutor sharing a profile of a challenging student and benefitting from a pooling of ideas to provide insights into the causes of the challenges and how to best meet each student’s needs. Tutors were introduced to more ways to use the CODE Burt award young adult novels with Youth Lit students. We extend our thanks to our Youth Lit partners - NALIS and Kiss Baking Co.

ALTA Class Coordinators worked with the theme “Guiding, Supporting, Reporting”. New procedures were developed to help tutors produce quality evaluations for every ALTA student and enter these on ALTA online student database before the end of the academic year. We ended the day on a fun note with a typical ALTA walk-about activity to share ideas on handling unexpected student responses in an ALTA writing lesson.

Thank You !

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communications@alta-tt.org || +1-868-624-2582 || 84 Belmont Circular Road, Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad WI

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