"Why Can't Our Students Read?"

I was reading an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer that asked the question, "Why Can't Our Students Read?" And somewhere in the article, another question was offered, "Are teachers themselves competent readers?" In 2017, more than half of elementary school children in the Philippines were apparently "frustrated readers". Almost a quarter could not comprehend and seven percent were completely illiterate. Indeed, "Why Can't Our Students Read?" is an important question to ask. To answer this question, one should probably look at instances where we find students reading. One instance was shared by the principal at the school my daughter attends. My daughter's principal wrote, "We caught a very special patrol going above and beyond the call of duty this week. Amelia was not only keeping our kindergarteners safe--she was keeping them engaged as they waited for their bus."



My daughter is reading a book to kindergarteners as they wait for their school bus. In this picture, I think we will find what is required to learn how to read. And it is really simple: Something to read. In "Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert", thoughts of psychologist Daniel Willingham with regard to how we could motivate children to read were emphasized:
Willingham recommends making sure that reading material is highly visible—in every classroom, in multiple rooms in the house, in the car, and so on—to maximize the chance that children will pick something up and read it.
The importance of reading experience cannot be overstated. How reading experience correlates with academic performance is well known. Engagement in reading can even trump the effects of poverty:


Above copied from
READING FOR CHANGE: PERFORMANCE AND ENGAGEMENT ACROSS COUNTRIES: RESULTS FROM PISA 2000

Worcester Public Library also reminds us on Facebook of the importance of providing reading opportunities to our children:



Here, reading is equated to quality time between parents and their children.

It is sad that in the Philippines, the knee-jerk response to the dismal state of basic education is questioning the competence of teachers when the obvious reason is clear: Most children and their families have nothing to read.


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