In many public elementary schools in the Philippines, as many as 80% of the children cannot read. Indaoac Elementary School, a remote school in the mountainous Cordillera region in Northern Philippines, is no different. Last year, 57 out of 67 pupils, or an alarming 83%, had not achieved adequate reading skills. This is reflected in weak performance and achievement rates across all subjects. Sadly, the poor reading skills are mainly due to the children’s lack of interest and motivation in reading, across all grades. The root cause of this is a lack of effective reading programs and the absence of functional, well-stocked libraries.
These findings urged LINKS to provide assistance to the school through its Hooked on Books Project. This project aims to awaken the children’s love for reading, by creating a reading and library program that works. It involves engaging the entire community of teachers, parents and community leaders to set up the Hooked on Books Library and the accompanying reading program. Children can optimize the use of the books through personal reading sessions, an effective book-lending system, storytelling sessions, and a summer reading camp, for identified frustrated readers.
With the new-found joy in books and reading, children will start performing better in school. The development of a “reading culture” in the school, at home, and the community will have been established. Ultimately, these children will have attained invaluable life-long skills that take a step closer to fulfilling their dreams.