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Sunday, November 25, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
By Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez
Last updated 10:48pm (Mla time) 11/03/2007
WHEN THE PERFORMANCE of more than 2,000 pupils of the South City Central School in Cagayan de Oro City was evaluated last year, at least 10 out of 50 pupils in Grades 1 to 3 did not know how to read or understand what they read.
This dismally low literacy rate merely reflects the state of education in Mindanao.
According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), regions in Mindanao ranked lowest in functional literacy last year, with an average of 70 percent.
Dropout rate shot up to as high as 7.3 percent, another NSO data said.
To help address the problem, Amway Philippines, a global direct-selling company, has adopted the South City Central School for its “One by One Campaign for Children,” a project aimed at improving the reading ability of children in public schools.
Amway helped renovate the school library, where a well-lit and inviting storytelling corner was put up.
After months of waiting, the refurbished library formally opened on Oct. 19, to the delight of eager children, parents and teachers.
“A library is a very important component of the school. This is where children can feed their minds and souls. It is our hope that the newly renovated library and the ‘One by One Campaign for Children’ storytelling corner will encourage more children to go inside the library to develop the love and appreciation for reading and learning,” Ador Bonquin, Amway Philippines country manager, said.
A workshop for teachers and volunteers on innovative ways of telling a story was conducted before the project launch.
Captivating the listener
“We teach our storytellers how to reach and touch the hearts of the children. This way, listeners will be captivated by the story and encourage them to try reading the story by themselves,” Bonquin said.
Storytellers use props and visual aids to enrich the imagination of children, as well as enhance their comprehension.
Rebecca Pacanut, a Grade 1 teacher for the past 31 years, said the attractive appearance of the storytelling corner, as well as the new children’s books, had inspired her pupils to read.
“In my decades of teaching, this is the only time that I saw my pupils hurrying toward the library instead of the playground after classes. They have discovered the joy of reading,” she said.
The library now has 3,000 books, mostly donations from the United States.
“We are still trying to solicit more (reading materials),” librarian Arlene de Guma said.
To inspire the children to read and understand what they read, they allow even nonreaders to take home the materials for three days so that the parents can read along with them, De Guma said.
“We also encourage the parents to volunteer as storytellers,” she said.
Sustaining the project is a challenge both for Amway and for the school beneficiary, according to Bonquin.
“The school’s counterpart is to maintain the library and the storytelling corner. For us, we have promised to adopt the school, hence our local IBOs [independent business owners] will continue supporting its needs,” he said.
Amway will also donate computers and more books to upgrade the library. The company’s employees from around the globe will also donate books to the adopted school.
The literacy campaign is Amway’s global initiative to uplift the lives of children all over the world, Bonquin said.
Similar programs were launched to combat child poverty in Africa, provide crucial care for children fighting cancer in Mexico and Brazil, and help disabled children in Japan.
Last year, Amway Philippines received the Anvil Award of Merit under the institutional and corporate category for its One by One Campaign for Children.
Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, November 2, 2007
After teaching them to read, what happens next? What worries me are several factors:
- Parents' attitudes towards reading. Many of them think that beyond textbooks, they are only obligated to buy their kids dictionaries, nothing more. The most sought-after book by parents in bookstores selling brand-new and used books and even in MV Doulos is dictionaries! Even without the statistics on household expenses, I'm sure, aside from textbooks, other reading materials like magazines and newspapers are l-o-o-o-o-w in the list. The basic needs for food. clothing and shelter would take precedence over reading materials. (Maybe this is why the local komiks industry died.)
- Sorry state of libraries in public elementary and high schools. Sure there are book donations from Books for the Barrios, civic groups and local/national politicians, but many of these are irrelevant to the academic needs of library users: highly technical books, books on American politics, college textbooks (advance calculus and physics), FVR books, etc. The lack of books and internet connection is one sure killer of curiosity in our kids.
- Development of critical thinking is not promoted in consonance with reading. One only needs to see the factual errors in Philippine-made textbooks and shudder at the absence of critical thinking in our young pupils and their teachers!
- Popular culture makes video viewing more attractive than reading. Why read when you can see it indeed! My nieces and nephews' main excuse for not reading: We'd rather wait for it to shown in cinemas and TV.
- Teachers of non-language subjects (many of them don't even have reading habits) who refuse to go beyond the four corners of the textbooks they're using. They don't even have the initiative to relate their subject matters to current events and other disciplines. No wonder our kids find their textbooks dry and boring!
I liked reading this short article from a friend. I hope you will, too. The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.
I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze."Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."
"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education! and now I'm getting one!" she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery! I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! ! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know. "As we laughed she cleared her throat and began,
"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young... being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!
There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.
Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."
She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it! These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.
REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY.GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it. Pass this message to people you care about. If you choose not, then you refuse to bless someone else……