42,000 learners in Iloilo have very poor reading literacy -DepEd

Iloilo City - According to Roel Bermejo, superintendent of Iloilo Schools Division, around 42,000 (out of the estimated 500,000 total population) of students from kinder to high school in Iloilo have very poor reading literacy. Most of those with very poor reading comprehension skills are students who are between grades 1 to 6.

They are classified as "frustrated readers" in the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Manual, Department of Education's tool for reading assessment.

According to the manual, there are three reading levels: independent, instructional, and frustration level. The independent level is the highest, where the student has excellent reading comprehension. The instructional level means that readers still need guidance from teachers. The "frustration readers" are those who find reading difficult.

Bermejo cited possible factors for this issue. Some of these students could have undetected learning disabilities or special needs. Another reason could be poverty, as some children from poor families were more likely to be absent in school to help the family earn. Gov. Arthur Defensor, Jr. of Iloilo also stated that overcrowding of classrooms can be a possible factor, as teachers cannot focus or don't have time to guide students.

DepEd and the Iloilo provincial government are beginning to take steps to remedy the issue. Bermejo stated that they would start training elementary and high school teachers in conducting remedial reading classes. Gov. Defensor also stated that the province is willing to add remedial reading teachers to improve learners' reading comprehension.

In my opinion as a librarian, however, schools could start by improving their libraries and library services. Most schools don't have adequate learning resources. A library and a proactive librarian could be a big help in this situation.

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