Reading is a skill very much necessary for everyday living. Though, it is taught at early stages in schools across the country, it remains true that students, especially among poor communities are struggling with reading and most importantly comprehension. Among the 12 communities where CHAI operates, we have observed both elementary and high school students who attend weekendly tutorials and values formation activities find reading, especially comprehension difficult.
We have asked some teachers and an education expert and confirmed that the lack of reading and comprehension is a pressing concern among Filipino students because it does not only hamper learning in the English subject but all subjects are affected. A proof of this is when students are given purely numerical math problems they can easily answer them, but when given word problems they usually get the wrong answers. Addressing this problem is deemed not only to improve their skills but also increase their chances to be employed in the long run.
In 2012, we have provided scholarship for 10 students in one of the poor communities we are helping in partnership with Instant Reader. After undergoing a 20- day reading program, the students have shown enhanced skills in reading and comprehension. In their respective schools, their teachers and parents were impressed with the improvement of their performance reflective of their grades. The 10 students used to be low ranking in their classes prior to the program, but have been ranked in the top 10 on their classes after. With the remarkable improvement, we would like to provide the same program for other students in the poor communities we are empowering.
One of the strategies of CHAI in implementing our capacity building programs, of which RaCE is included, is to Train the Trainers/ Volunteers. This is deemed to be more strategic and efficient so that the reach of the programs can be greater. This will be part of the pre-implementation period.