TEACHER CORNER | In reading, hope springs

Esteban B. Camano
Master Teacher II
Gen.T. De Leon National High School

The wide spread of illiteracy is still one of the world’s biggest problems. It cripples every nation to be left behind from this era of industrialization and globalization; it paralyzes every human being to unable to stand from the doom of ignorance; and it imprisons humanity from the claws of poverty.

Undoubtedly, one reason for this illiteracy lies in the failure of acquiring or mastering reading skill by the majority people who happen to be in the marginalized sectors in every society of the world.

In the Philippines, a study conducted by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) revealed that Filipino non-school book (NSB) readers remain high at 80 percent which means four out of five Filipino adults still read books and other materials. However, the group noted that it represents a decline from the 90 percent notched in 2003 and 83 percent in 2007.

While the NBDB study did not pinpoint any reason for the decline of the reading habits of Filipinos, the consensus among experts is that social media, television and the new lifestyle among the young have contributed to their waning interest in reading.

The recent documentary report of Kara David in I-Witness entitled “Pag-asasa Pagbasa”virtually validates the problemin reading even among high school students in a public school. It is unfortunate that those high school students featured are just about to start learning the sounds of the English language instead of reading literature like novels. Failure to master the most basic skill in so far as students’ age and grade level are concerned is one of the saddest realities in the present situations inside the classroom.

The time passes by so fast, the responsibility is getting bigger; expectation is becoming greater. With this, in response to the pressing dilemma, the Department of Education declares November as the National Reading Month, a campaign that hopes to inspire students to read and the public to donate books. Education Secretary Leonora Magtolis Brionesurges students to experience the magic of reading and let books unleash the wonders of their imagination. Thus, schools nationwide are encouraged to hold different activities and events that would surely spark the passion for reading. Book-reading sessions, setting up mini-libraries and book donations are such symbolic activities.

Likewise, believing in the noble cause of this whole month celebration, all public and private schools under the leadership of school heads share their part and support. Language teachers feel obliged to spearhead different contests such as Reading Proficiency, Storytelling, Choral Reading, and Making Pop out and Big Books;Speech Choir, Quiz Bee,Spelling, Essay, Extemporaneous Speech, Recital Poetry are likewise conducted. Hence, talents are recognized; versatilities are honored; and values are nurtured inside the classrooms.

As always, the problem in reading among our students isa great challenge; it is a test of partnership and collaboration on the part of parents, teachers, school officials, and government as it cannot be solved overnight. It calls for a concerted effort to come up with concrete solution little by little. As reading being considered to be everybody’s concern, it must be sealed with hard work, commitment, and perseverance to be able make reading a habit in the mind and heart of this generation. When reading becomes everybody’s mantra, the future generation will surely be assured with a liberating force to change the lives of the last, the least, and the lost toward becoming literate, functional, and responsible individuals.

Indeed,the one-month celebration of the English month every November results to meaningful activities and proves responsive programs that resonate:“In reading, hope springs.”