Parents’ role in developing kids’ reading habits cited

ILOILO CITY — The number of “frustrated” readers in the province of Iloilo is not only the concern of the government but also of the parents as the problem starts at home, an Iloilo board member said on Tuesday.

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Iloilo said 42,000 out of the estimated 500, 000 learners in the province fall under the frustration level.

“Frustrated” readers refer to learners who can read words but do not have the desire and the ability to comprehend, said Dr. Roel Bermejo, DepEd-Iloilo schools division superintendent, in recent interviews.

Third District Board Member Jason Gonzales, who also chairs the Regional Education Council, said in an interview on Thursday, the problem on the number of frustrated readers in the province is the concern of all and not by the government alone.

“The problem starts at home,” he said.

Gonzales said the frustration on the reading of the learners is linked to their use of gadgets.

Citing multiple studies from Harvard medical school, Gonzales said children aged one to two years old exposed to gadgets have low reading capacity.

“The brain (of children) who use gadgets are conditioned to moving pictures, especially from zero to two years of age. The moment they open a book, it will be increasingly harder to teach children how to read,” he said.

He said the parents should be the ones to protect the children up to seven years old as their optimal stage for learning.

The parents can help their children refrain from gadget use, he said, although some of the parents complain that their children would not behave without the aid of these electronic gadgets.

“I cannot emphasize how big a problem this is and this is the problem that can also be solved not by teachers but by parents,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gonzales said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has met with Bermejo on Monday to ask the DepEd for the breakdown of the 42 000 frustrated readers.

The data is meant to pinpoint which towns the frustrated readers come from and to implement interventions.

Aside from the provincial government, the Regional Education Council will also make use of the DepEd’s data to also intervene with the number of frustrated readers, Gonzales said.

“The Regional Education Council recognizes that our intervention in education will be systematic and large scale,” he said.

The Regional Education Council is planning to set a Regional Education Summit in March.

Gonzales said the summit will help local chief executives on their role to address rising concerns on education.

The local chief executives need to be aware of the participation rate of learners in schools; the cohort survival rate or the rate of learners entering the first grade that can make it into the sixth grade; the activation of school governing council; and the establishment of expanded school board which will be needed for budgetary concerns; and the literacy rate, among others.  Gail Momblan/PNA –