A remedial reading program organized by the local school board in Valenzuela City in May has significantly improved the reading skills of elementary school pupils, turning around 40% of former non-readers and frustrated readers into independent readers.
A report by the Department of Education (DepEd) Division Office released on June 11 show that a total of 6,448 third and sixth graders – 41.5 % of the 15,546 school children who took the post-test at the end of the program – have become independent readers after going to the 22-day Summer Reading Camp (SRC) from May 5 to 30.
The SRC was held in all 39 public elementary schools in the city to help the 16, 151 non-readers and frustrated readers among third and sixth graders become independent readers.
The education bureau defines non-readers as those who fail at the basic reading skill of word recognition, while frustrated readers are those who can recognize words but have a hard time comprehending passages. Those who could recognize words and comprehend but only with an instructor’s aid are called instructional readers. Independent readers are those who have mastered both skills. The DepEd’s goal is to make every pupil an independent reader by the time he or she reaches third grade.
The post-test that capped the SRC yielded a total of 6,591 instructional readers, or 42.4 %; and 2, 472 frustrated readers; or 15.9 %. One pupil, a third grader, has been found to be a non-reader.
During the post-test, a pupil would read aloud a paragraph before the teacher. The pupil would then be asked five questions that fall under these categories: literal, interpretive, and applied.
“Literal questions are those which answers can be found directly in the [paragraph read by the student],” said Buenafe Sabado, Division Supervisor for English. “Interpretive questions require the pupil to read between the lines. Applied questions make the pupil connect what he has read in the paragraph to his own real-life situation.”
City Mayor REX Gatchalian said he is impressed with the results of the SRC post-test. “For a kid who started out barely recognizing an English word to learn to read four English-language stories in a little time, that is quite an achievement.”
The success of the program is due to the ample time an SRC class allots to reading lessons, Sabado said.
“The reading lessons at the SRC were intensive,” Sabado said. “The entire three hours were devoted to reading, a far cry from the 50 minutes that are given to reading in a regular class day.”
The small number of pupils in each class – 30 per class – also helped a lot, teachers said.
“The lesser the pupils, the better the quality of learning,” said Mary Grace Villarico, teacher at Malinta Elementary School. “In a small class, everyone gets to participate.”
It also mattered that pupils in an SRC class are in the same reading comprehension level.
“In a regular classroom, pupils are from across reading levels, which may not always benefit the poor readers,” said Sabado. “A teacher in an SRC class was able to pace the lessons according to the pupils’ learning ability.”
The SRC is part of the city government’s 360-Degree Educational Investment Plan, which seeks to bolster the local educational system by building more classrooms, training teachers, conducting feeding programs, and enlisting parents’ active involvement in students’ learning.