Learners’ Reading Skills during the Pandemic

With the emergence of new normal in every aspect known, its effect on education is evident. Learners of today are forced to adapt despite unpreparedness for distance learning. Teachers are put in situations where we must continue doing daily duties amidst the complexities that the pandemic brings. There is no doubt that the educative process struggled.

            The Philippines, in response to the need for the teaching and learning process during the early months of the pandemic, implemented DepEd Order No. 012 s. 2020 “Adoption of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for School Year 2020-2021 in Light of the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency.” This covers interventions that grapple with the challenges brought by the pandemic. The Department of Education through this order ensured the continuity of learning even during this season.

            As learning pushes through, several problems arose. One of which revolves around the literacy skills of learners. Over the past couple of years, literacy scores among Filipino learners were significantly low. In 2018, the Philippines joined the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where under reading literacy assessment, 1 out of 5 Filipino learners (19.4%) only achieved at least the minimum proficiency level overall. This result posed a challenge to the Department of Education.

            Since then, the department carried out programs, interventions, and projects that are set to eradicate factors that hinder students in improving their reading comprehension skills.

            The pandemic did not make it easy for students and teachers alike. Learning is disrupted due to a series of lockdowns, so learners are expected to continue their academic tasks at home.

            Learning at home during this time of the pandemic poses challenges to both the learners and their families. This is consistent with existing literature, which identifies family background variables as significant predictors of educational achievement (Calica, 2020). The decline in reading comprehension skills among learners is explicit. Teachers are even more encouraged to come up with ways to address such a pressing matter.

            Still, it is much observable that schools, here in our country are trying their best to connect with stakeholders who directly impact the learning of these students, especially those in need of assistance. Teachers directly communicate with parents or guardians to ensure that learning is encouraged at home during school hours. We ensure that there is awareness as to each student’s class standing specifically targeting basic skills such as reading comprehension.

            There is now a roll-out of seminars in every region of the country that tackles the learning recovery plan focusing on the basic skills of learners—literacy, numeracy, and science. Literacy was the first to be discussed in these LRP trainings because it is the most basic yet most essential in learning. Reading is a skill that makes up the foundation of every learning. And we can say that over the past years up until the present, reading in every part of the world had become harder and harder for learners to acquire. and This is why such mentioned trainings are relevant, for we see a need to address these things in a way that teachers, as well as other stakeholders, are fully aware of what is currently happening to the learners.

            Reading has played a very important role in the development of countries, and we cannot ignore the fact that it has an impact on the people as well. It is just right that schools especially in our country are focusing on improving the learners’ reading skills and that we see programs and interventions are being implemented to aid and guide students. It gives teachers hope that sooner or later learners will recover from the loss of learning when it comes to reading comprehension or they will improve their reading comprehension skills because schools are promoting activities that will build on the learners’ most important foundation. this movement will be of great effect as it aims to produce learners who are competent enough to read, analyze, and comprehend. With this, we are building a future filled with critical and intelligent people.