Building a community of readers
I started using the Inquirer in my class when I was teaching third grade at Cupang Elementary School in Balanga, Bataan province.
I did not sign up for the program but some generous parents brought copies of the paper every Monday for the duration of the Bench-sponsored Inquirer in Education (IIE) serial reading story, “Frannie Learns a Lesson.”
I followed the teaching notes that went with each chapter and I found my pupils so engrossed in accomplishing their tasks.
The following school year, 2009-10, when I was transferred to Balanga Elementary School to handle the last section of Grade 5, I signed up for the Bench-IIE Serial Reading Program. I saw how the kids enjoyed the story although they had difficulty understanding it.
After asking me to translate the story into Filipino, they did all the suggested activities. In fact, they enthusiastically came up with their own creative output.
That year I also won the Inquirer Learning section’s Ninoy-Cory Lesson Plan Writing Contest. I was so inspired I just had to let our city mayor, Jose Enrique S. Garcia III, know how I felt.
I was able to convince him to pay for at least five copies of the Inquirer every day for one school year for my pupils. That launched the Inquirer Learning Corner, which has become a feature in a growing number of schools.
From then on, I participated in the Bench-IIE serial story every year. It has been very enriching for me as a partner-teacher because the workshops conducted for every story further honed my teaching skills.
The workshops made us teachers more careful in choosing activities for our pupils. Cyan Abad-
Jugo, who wrote some of the serial reading stories, and Chelo
Banal-Formoso, the Learning section editor, who wrote the student activity guide that came with each chapter, helped improve our writing skills.
The briefings and debriefings challenged us to work harder and be more active contributors in nation-building. The Learning editor encouraged us to serve the Filipino youth even if our salaries were not enough for a decent lifestyle.
The IIE has been part of my work in the public school system. It played a significant part in my promotion from Teacher I to Teacher II to Master Teacher I to Education Program Supervisor.
Through IIE I have met good and supportive friends.
More importantly, the pupils who participated in the program became writers and active readers. I was amazed to see how those I taught the first IIE story actively participated in discussions and activities in the class of a teacher I was observing as an instructional leader.
I praised the students for becoming real learners. They said they developed a love of reading through the IIE Serial Reading Program.
The transformation might not have been apparent when they were in my class but the program appeared to have made them life-long readers and learners.
Partner-teachers of the program are encouraged to design or prepare lesson plans that engage students and keep them from getting bored. Making story reading part of the everyday learning-teaching process helps make students more interested.
Let us find ways to motivate pupils to learn. Let us read and build a community of readers. Marlyn B. Gerio, Contributor
The writer is an Education Program Supervisor I and Division Ecarp (Every Child a Reader) coordinator in Balanga City.