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Literacy development: North Luzon’s path to progress through reading coaches

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Feb. 23 (PIA) -- The North Luzon Education Council (NLEC) is mulling over a recommendation to hire reading coaches to help schoolchildren in Regions 1, 2, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) improve on their reading proficiencies, taking off from the reading best practices of elementary schools in Bacnotan, La Union.
The Bacnotan Central School, Paratong Elementary School, and the Zaragosa Elementary School in the said town have all utilized the assistance of reading coaches to sharpen the reading skills of their students, greatly improving and hastening their reading skills in the process.
The said schools have established a regular reading program and book libraries with the assistance of reading coaches to help children read, and partnered with strong school governing councils to ensure that their reading endeavor is supervised and meets its intended purposes.
The best practice was presented during the council meeting and benchmarking activity of the NLEC in San Juan, La Union on Feb. 23, with members agreeing on the need for local government units (LGUs) in the said regions to fund reading programs with reading coaches to increase the literacy of children in reading.

The NLEC hopes to find ways and means, through the sharing of best practices, to increase the reading capability of children in Region 1 to contribute to individual and latter economic development here.

Bacnotan Mayor Divine Fontanilla, the host municipality of the NLEC meeting, also highlighted the Bacnotan Learning Journey (BLJ) as an additional strategy in developing the reading comprehension of students in their town.
The BLJ includes all the literacy and education initiatives of Bacnotan town to sustain and strengthen the town’s basic education, including its reading caravan using the town’s mobile library, its Search for Best Barangay Reading Corner, its Children and Youth Summit every October, and the Bacnotan Comprehensive Educational Assistance Program, among others.
“The learning journey of Bacnotan has metamorphosed because of its commitment to make education accessible to all, to facilitate self-reliance among our constituents, to care for and improve the environment and natural resources, and to foster economic growth, among others,” Fontanilla said.

The focus on the reading skills of children is an answer to the ardent calls from both public and private stakeholders for the development of innovative strategies to improve the reading abilities of schoolchildren in the region.
The initiative also acknowledges the prevalent challenges faced by elementary and even high school students, especially those grappling with reading comprehension difficulties.
Addressing the reading needs of children is all the more crucial given that research conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) on 600 15-year-old students in 79 countries in 2018 had the Philippines with the lowest score in reading comprehension.
Teaching reading at a young age guides children as they grow, mature, and eventually craft their professional careers, as the ability to read is important for children’s comprehension across different school subjects.
The NLEC also says that early reading proficiency among children equips them with the desire for lifelong learning that shall in turn lead to personal and professional growth, as there exists a correlation between early desire and love for reading with later expansion of knowledge.
In a message of La Union Governor Raphaelle Veronica ‘Rafy’ Ortega-David read by La Union 2nd District Board Member Cynthia Bacurnay, she stated that the province has been on a constant search for strategies to transform its education system and institutions to benefit all learners in the province.
“We have invested significantly in infrastructure, ensuring that our schools are equipped with facilities conducive to learning. We have also supported teachers’ training and development, recognizing educators’ vital role in the education system,” Ortega-David said.
Additionally, Cabagan, Isabela Mayor Christopher Mamauag emphasized the importance of the support of LGUs to the education efforts of the government, particularly that of the Department of Education (DepEd), highlighting the need to complement the latter’s efforts through funding and other support interventions.
"Once they can read (grade school learners), DepEd won't have too much trouble. Our part is important because if you look at the government's budget, it is not enough for the needs of our children and our teachers... [so our help is needed] because it is the foundation of our education,” Mamauag said. (JCR/MJTAB/CCMT, PIA La Union)

About the Author

Chester Trinidad

Information Officer III

Region 1

Chester Carlo M. Trinidad is the Information Center Manager of PIA La Union. 

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