2021 National Reading Month Program Focus on Mystery Reader Program: An Attempt to Meet Learners f2f

Read Time:5 Minute, 15 Second
MARY JANE V. BONDOC
School Principal II San Fernando Norte Elementary School Cabiao District, SDO- Nueva Ecija

Rationale

The 2021 National Reading Month is the chance that we have been waiting for because it is the time to start our programs and rekindle the learner’s love for learning particularly in Reading. We are launching our month-long reading activities!

This month is eventful and hectic for all the hardworking teachers of San Fernando Norte Elementary School. Challenges are there to meet us along the way but the fervent heart of a teacher is powerful enough to brave all these obstacles. We will meet the learners face to face after almost two years of quarantine due to the dreaded virus that shut all schools in the entire nation. It is a bold decision though. Teachers were hesitant at first, but after careful planning, everybody seemed excited and yet still wary. Documents like memorandum, activity course outline, School-based Reading Program and Implementation Plan, permission from the barangay, parent’s consent, online ads, certificates and others were prepared a week before the targeted date of the activity. Teachers planned the five-day event with contact persons for each of the target venue. They talked about the precautions which should be strictly observed and the venue or the host should be wide enough to hold at least 15 learners with safe distancing.

Following the declaration of Inter-Agency Task Force to lower the alert level to 2 in Nueva Ecija, we were confident that this activity will the first and most daring ever to hold such face to face activity in the town. It was demanding yet very satisfying. It demands time, effort and even money. We invited important individuals who will embody a true lover of reading and literature. To equate the significance of the day’s activity, the teachers prepared prizes for active learners who will participate. In the end, all learners went home with a handful of prizes. Throughout the 30-minute reading engagement with the learners, we observed mixed emotions from the children. Some were nervous and timid, especially the beginning graders obviously because seeing a real teacher right before their eyes is a new experience to them. Keeping their interest in the activity is another mission. The mixed emotions during the first meeting will always be a struggle. There are a lot to tell about emotions of children in this kind of activity but maybe a separate article will give justice to it.

And so for the second week of November after the Regional Kick-off, SFNES continued with Project Mystery Reader. The project gave Reading a different kind of flavor and it caught the children’s attention. The project did not only support literacy goals but it also taught the pupils to think critically. It challenged the kids to listen closely and drew them deeply into the story. This process enabled the listeners/learners to develop comprehension and the ability to practice more reading skills. More importantly, the level of enthusiasm of pupils through a lively story reader guided the kids all the way through a successful listening reading experience. Their curiosity propels them through the book, and even more with the mystery reader. The mystery reader highlights this activity because it gives kids a variety of experience to enjoy reading with “somebody” other than their teachers.

Strategies

The activity lasted for five days, beginning November 8, Monday. To make them experience a real reading encounter, a mystery reader reads a story to a pre-identified setting e.g. in front of the learner’s house. The mystery reader reads from a pre-arranged make-shift cab using a portable sound system. The mystery reader remains unseen until the story is finished. He/She will reveal himself/herself for a series of questions to test the comprehension skills of the kids.

The conduct of this activity strictly followed protocols to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Learners from within the proximity of the venue were asked to participate regardless of grade level.

To make the event more systematic, a working committee facilitated the program all throughout the week.

As part of the campaign, posters were posted on the official facebook page of the school and on teachers and principal’s fb wall.

The Unfloding of Events of the Mystery Reading Daily Activities

For more exciting activities, the following are part of the month-long reading celebration of SFNES and the district as well:

Guest Reader

This activity is a virtual classroom-based where pre-recorded videos storytelling of invited guests will be aired and watched in the virtual classroom.

Family Reading Week

Members of the family are encouraged to read with the child. Posting on fb is not mandatory, but on group chat or page is encouraged. The activity aims to engage the family on a bonding-reading time with the learner.

Teachers’ Capacity Building on Story Telling

Teachers will attend on a district-initiated training on basics of story telling with Miss Rhea Padiernos, the 2018 National Awardee on Story Book Writing.

Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)

On November 26, all SFNES teachers and learners will join the nationwide simultaneous reading for 15 minutes which will be called “BasaNorteam!”

Here in SFNES, we don’t underestimate the power of little ideas. Reading is like a farmer who sows seeds. Some seeds sprout, some may delay in growth and some might not break open and becomes food for other plants just like that. The elements to nurture the seeds is on the hands of the farmer, so the fate of the seeds lies on him. The small acts that we do to nurture the minds of the learner are nourishments that will enrich their hopeful minds. Efforts, no matter how little will create an impact to the hearts of every pupil.

As Victor Hugo stated, “To learn to read is to light a fire. Every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” Let us continue lighting that fire until it is able to illuminate the darkened hope dimmed by the pandemic. Keep on reading.

References

DM-CI-2021-00466 2021 Pambansang Buwan at Araw ng Pagbasa District Memorandum No. 8, s. 2021

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