June 23, 2024

With the pandemic affecting the reading capabilities of school children in the Cordillera, the Department of Education strengthens its reading programs to assist learners to read.
DepEd-CAR Director Estela Cariño said the various school divisions in the region have come up with their own reading programs under the “Read to Lead” project of the regional office. These include the “Project Bindiyan” by the school’s division office of Benguet and the “Project Bidbid” of SDO Ifugao, among other programs. 
“These are all reading programs but they contextualize it according to the situation in the community,” Cariño said during the fourth quarter kapihan of the DepEd in Ifugao. 
Cariño said because of the pandemic, there are learners that chose to learn independently and with the reading programs, they aim to bring back the learners’ interest to go back to school.
SDO Ifugao Head Soraya Faculo said there are 13,900 learners in 155 schools in the province who undergo the ProjectBidbid,or the Bridging Individual Difficulty By Innovating Designs in Reading.  In local language, bidbid means to read.
The project uses appropriate assessment tools in diagnosing reading skills of learners, utilizing the results in developing appropriate interventions that would help improve the literacy skill of all learners. It also aims to encourage at least 75 percent of the schools to implement the reading programs with enhanced approaches.
The reading sessions are carried out after classes and the components are phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics and word study, fluency vocabulary, and comprehension, which are all basic components in learning how to read.
Faculo said most schools have initiated their own reading programs in all grade levels according to the needs of their learners based on the previous results of reading assessments conducted.
With the implementation of the project, school officials observed the grade three learners can read according to their appropriate age level.
Also, included in the program is the setting up of 11 community libraries to reach out to the learners. There are already five community libraries put up for learners at the Mayoyao District Community Library, Aguinaldo, Tinoc, Banaue, and Alfonso Lista, while the Kiangan Community Library will soon be launched.
“At the community libraries, hindi lang po ito provision ng libro. If these are universities, we also ask them if they have training intervention to really teach the science of reading to our teachers in Ifugao,” Faculo said. 
The Ifugao SDO also sought help from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in its plan to digitalize the assessment tools of reading proficiency of learners.
Through these reading programs, the school division hopes to sustain the interest of students to go back to school. The local government unit, private sector and the community also support the implementation of the reading program.  – Ofelia C. Empian