“Ang tunay kong accomplishment ay ang mga batang natutong bumasa sa tulong ng reading program. Yun na po ang pinakamalaking deal para po sa akin na ipagpapatuloy ko hanggang akoy nasa serbisyo pa”.
These are the words of teacher Charina dela Cruz Aurellano, or Ma’am Ynah, when asked of her great accomplishment in the teaching profession. “Ito po ang aking passion sa aking profession na matulungan ko ang mga bata tungo sa kanilang magandang hangarin sa buhay,” she said.
Ma’am Ynah is a Grade 2 adviser of Alomon Elementary School in Polangui South District. Being the School Reading Coordinator, she is at the same time the Learner’s Information System (LIS) Coordinator, School Math Coordinator, School Kabataan Alay sa Bayan (KAB) Scout Coordinator and the Monthly Report Card In-charge.
Ma’m Ynah has been in the teaching profession since 1999. She assumed as SRC in 2013, and despite her so many responsibilities, she is very determined to apply all her learnings from the series of capacity development training she attended which were facilitated by Educo.
She initiated the Reading Program in the school called Project Reading Edujoy. Through her, the school evidently established a strong partnership with other stakeholders in the community who are actively taking part in the school’s reading program. The Barangay Local Government Unit implements feeding program by integrating it in reading sessions.
Consequently, this initiative of the local officials evidently increased the attendance of the students especially those who are enrolled in the remedial reading. Parents and other community volunteers additionally assist reading coordinator in the implementation of Project PAIR (Parents Assist in Intensive Reading). Being Para-teachers, they extend support during tutorials, storytelling and read-aloud to each of the class for the reading session.
Similarly, to improve the pupils’ reading skills, Project STAR (Scouts to Assist a Reader) utilizes the reading skills of the Boy and Girl Scouts through peer tutorial to Non-Reader pupils. These reading sessions are conducted every Thursday-Friday, 12:30 to 1:00 in the afternoon.
Beyond the confines of the classroom
Alomon Elementary School is a very small school having 7 classrooms constructed in 500 square meters lot. It has limited space for school activities and library facility, yet they manage to establish a functional and print rich reading corner in every room. Community stakeholders have also extended their time in keeping the reading spaces well organized and clean, and by assisting students during library hours.
Last August 2015, Ma’am Ynah, together with the Supreme Pupils Government (SPG), Parents, Barangay Officials and other community members started the Community Reading Activity entitled “Project Aklat Ikalat, Kaalaman ay Bibigat”.
“Limitado ang espasyo ng reading Center at kulang din sa oras ang nailalaan sa pagpapabasa,” says Ma’am Ynah of the motivation behind the project.
She also sees the importance of parents’ involvement in the promotion of good reading habit among children. “Hindi sapat na ang teacher lang ang mag tuturo sa mga bata. Kailangan na ang magulang ay tutulong din”, she adds.
With the Project Aklat Ikalat Para Kaalaman ay Bibigat, the reading activities and materials are taken outside the reading center to make it more accessible for children beyond the school hours, even during weekends, and all the more for out of school children. The community reading activity is held in each Purok/Zone in any available space such as “kubo-kubo” (nipa hut) every Saturday at 3:00 in the afternoon. Barangay Council through the barangay fund provides for the snacks of the children who participated in the reading activity.
Innovative and creative activities are introduced to children to infuse love for reading and enhance their reading skills. SPG members present first interactive games and activities to set the mood of the children participants which is followed by a creative storytelling and comprehensive questioning by parents and Ma’m Ynah.
Challenges such as building the support of the community members are never been easy according to Ma’am Ynah. Most of the parents find hard to spend financially for their children’s educational needs and would prefer to attend to their economic activities rather than supporting their children during the reading sessions.
But with the support of the Barangay Council, the active SPG & parents in mobilizing and encouraging the involvement of the other parents, with the provision of material support and capacity development by EDUCO, and the passion and commitment of Mam Ynah paves the way for the community members to embrace and participate in the reading activities. They even carried out resource mobilization activity called “Piso sa Pagbasa” (contest for pupils who will have the highest Piso earned) to respond to their concern on insufficiency of financial resources to sustain the reading program.
Presently, about 75% of the local community now becomes active and the level of volunteerism increased. Parents showed positive response to their new learnings on the correct strategy in teaching reading as well as their important role as parents.
Mrs. Melody Naval, one of the parent volunteers, stresses the positive outcomes of the project. “Masaya kami na nakaattend kami ng reading session dahil nakakakuha kami ng dagdag na kaalaman kung papaano ang tamang pamamaraan ng pagturo sa mga bata na bumasa,” said. She really appreciates her involvement in the project because she realized the importance of her role as parent. Furthermore, she now volunteers in every activity in the school especially in trainings/seminar that EDUCO provides.
Another parent volunteer, Mrs. Analisa Salceda affirmed that there is excitement on the faces of the children during the reading activities.
As for Ma’am Ynah, “So far, all of the kids have been wonderful, they have developed self-confidence. They enjoy and appreciate the activities. They’re all excited to participate. I think it has to do with the reading program.”
She expressed that her passion for reading started at an early age. Now, being the Reading Coordinator has taught her to be more dedicated assuring that all pupils in her class have to be readers before they will be promoted to the next grade level. Thus, at the end of the SY 2015-2016, Alomon ES has zero (0) nonreader and there was a significant progress in the reading skill level of the school children from Grades 2 to 6. Also, their National Achievement Test (NAT) results for grades 3 and 6 for three (3) consecutive years have been improving, way above the passing average.
The innovative reading ideas for Alomon ES and the over the top community support marked its way to be distinguished and be awarded as Schools with Good Reading Practices for 3 consecutive years from 2014 to 2016 during the Educo’s awarding of Schools Best Reading Program Implementers. Consequently, the school has taken the lead to mainstream the implementation of the reading program in each school in the Municipality of Polangui.
From then on, educators from the non-partner elementary schools of Educo in Polangui come to visit Alomon ES to acquire knowledge and learn to develop reading program initiatives which they could also adopt in their respective schools.
# Story by: Myra M. Ador & Ma. Theresa S. Diamante, Project Officers