By: Nicolas M. Gumobao, Teacher 3
SDO Laguna, Pagsanjan Sub-office
Francisco Benitez Memorial School
Collaboration is the key to the successful attainment of an endeavor; such is the belief and principle we can place on working towards a reading community. Where there is commitment, there is also responsibility. When schools in a community work together towards a common goal, decision-making and the allocation of human, physical, and financial resources are possible. Through this, a lot of opportunities could open up not only to our school but also to our learners.
Such is the belief in using Division-initiated projects in our districts like Project Basahin, Unawain, at Sulatin (BUS) for Filipino and Project Reading Empowerment Asserting Connections at Home (REACH) for English. Through this collaboration, there is a commitment to share with each school and that is to make every learner develop a love for reading.
Having these two projects work hand-in-hand, our schools have a clear vision of the goals that we want to acquire. That is to help our learners get to know basics – from sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills. It also teaches us to inculcate in our young learners the value of books and stories in printed and digital forms. This and all to help our students realize the importance of reading in their lives.
As these projects are implemented in a wider scope or range, results can become more reliable. The number of independent, instructional, and struggling readers is important when assessing the effectiveness of these programs. Collecting several data where schools have varied populations and resources, the data to be assessed could deliver findings that could be the basis for how to improve the program in the future.
Project BUS and REACH – joining forces as a response to develop the reading skills of our students — could be considered independent reading programs where our learners have the opportunity to choose the type of reading activity they would like to participate in; and even at times, the reading materials they would like to be involved in. Studies show that these independent reading programs can help improve comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. This serves as an advantage as materials –specifically assessment tests – are already prepared for the teachers to use. Project BUS and REACH highlight the learners’ ability to make a connection with the teachers, their parents, and their guardians through reading. Giving a series of reading texts — such as books, magazines, and newspapers — to read on their own, with minimal to little assistance and just guidance from adults.
By allowing our learners to choose the reading material or activity they would like, there is a high chance that they are to engage more in reading as there is a sense of commitment and fun. There is a sense as well of ownership for they are the ones who decided.
We really cannot emphasize the important role of the school, along with other schools, and the community in establishing a reading community. As defined by Drew (2004) school-community collaboration occurs when groups or agencies come together to establish an educative community. The educative community is composed of a multitude of educating entities such as schools, homes, places of worship, the media, museums, libraries, community agencies, and businesses.
One of the schools’ roles is developing and producing well-educated reading Filipino citizens who have the responsibility to work on toward a better nation. By working together – schools, families, and the whole community – in pursuing a common goal, we can prepare our students for a future that is as bright as the sun can be.