May 24, 2024

Similar to that of the Australian wildfire and the 2019 novel coronavirus crises, much has been said about the controversial Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA result. However, like that of the bushfire and virus, why don’t we turn our attention more on what must be done?
Again, compared to the bushfires, an article talked about the stranded animals due to raging fires, wherein rescue workers launched vegetable drop for rock wallabies considered as endangered species in Australia. Same thing with the virus scare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the nCoV, first detected in Wuhan, China, and disseminated information on the possible prevention and treatment because investigations are ongoing about its transmissibility, severity, and other features. So why not do something to the current situation, especially on the issues, concerns, and challenges of reading literacy?
According to PISA, reading literacy is defined as “understanding, using, evaluating, reflecting on, and engaging with texts in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential and to participate in society.”
The Department of Education stated that it recognizes the urgency of addressing issues and gaps in attaining quality of basic education in the Philippines.
In fairness to DepEd, even before the conduct of the PISA, it has already existing programs, projects, and activities targeting reading and literacy. One example is the annual nationwide celebration of Reading Month every November to promote the love for reading. The event usually emphasizes on the department’s commitment to provide quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all and to lay the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good.
Some reading-related activities include synchronized reading time or Araw ng Pagbasa, leaders of readers, road trip-Oh the places you’ll go, #shareabook, and help a reader – be a volunteer. Likewise, there was the seminar-workshop on literacy instruction which focused on the following: provide in-depth orientation on literacy as a foundational tool to help learners acquire the competencies required in every content area; enhance instructional competence to strengthen the trending of advanced skills of comprehension and analysis; and intensify literary practices in and out of the classroom to close achievement gaps and promote a learning culture.
These are also reading-connected trainings regarding pedagogical retooling in mathematics, languages, and science and critical content or the least mastered skills or least learned competencies.
Additionally, there is the implementation and administration of the revised Philippine Informal Reading Inventory, which was created to provide classroom teachers a tool for measuring and describing reading performance to determine the individual student’s performance in oral reading, silent reading, and listening comprehension and an assessment tool composed of graded passages-designed to categorize a learner’s reading level, whether frustration, instructional, and independent.
More importantly, the department’s battlecry for quality education Sulong Edukalidad was just launched to achieve quality in basic education and centered on four pillars of aggressive reforms. Sec. Leonor Briones explained that Sulong Edukalidad as a banner program or project will have KITE as its four key reform areas: K to 12 curriculum review and update; improvement of learning environment; teachers’ upskilling and reskilling; and engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration. This is also in connection with the recent launching of the Read to Lead program.
Indeed, let us start the year right on a positive note and look for ways forward. And if we have personal resolutions, there are those that we call education goals too. We aim then for continuous improvement, sustainability, and strong support to our reading endeavor and spread this like a wildfire, like a virus. — ARMI VICTORIA A. FIANGAAN