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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Developing Character Education through Children's Literature and Literature-based Instructional Approaches: Portraits from American and Jamaican Elementary Students

Publication Date: 
March 2013

As young girls growing up in rural Jamaica, West Indies, our experiences with positive character development began in our homes. Our parents took the Bible's admonition in Deuteronomy 6 verses 6 and 7 literally: parents were responsible for inculcating biblical principles on their children's minds and hearts. We remember the prayers we were expected to memorize: the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23, and "Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep/If I should die before I wake/I pray the Lord my soul to take." Our mothers sent us off to school with this reminder: "Labour for learning before you grow old/for learning is better than silver or gold/silver and gold will vanish away/but a good education will never decay." In church and school, the religious teaching we received at home was reinforced. We were expected to recite Bible verses that we had memorized at home. The process of memorizing the same Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23, and other Bible verses (we had no access to selections from children's literature) would culminate in choral recital or group performances of the same scriptures.

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