(Art by Gwyneth Fiona N. Luga/ The Varsitarian)

THOMASIAN instructors traced the waning reading comprehension among students to inadequate and unavailable reading tools in the Philippines. 

Karen Yoma, English Coordinator at the UST Junior High School, said economic factors contribute to the low literacy rate in the country. She called for the improvement of facilities and reading materials to address the issue. 

“We cannot deny the fact that quality reading materials are a must in trying to improve our performance,” Karen Yoma, (UST-JHS), told the Varsitarian in an online interview. 

In a global survey of reading comprehension conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) last 2018, Filipinos ranked last among 79 countries with a rating of 340 points compared to the average 487 points.

The country placed 79th in reading, with the majority of Filipino students who took part in the assessment being in Grade 9. 

PISA is a triennial international assessment administered to 15-year-old learners, who are about to finish their mandatory basic education. Implemented by OECD, the PISA results are deemed able to provide relevant insights on student performance and inform policy decisions by the Department of Education (DepEd). 

“If we want to raise our rank in the succeeding PISA then we have to invest in quality reading materials, match the right reading materials to the level of the readers via a reading assessment, and improve our facilities to be conducive for reading,” Yoma said. 

Melanie Turingan of the Department of History at Faculty of Arts and Letters said subjects like ‘Readings in Philippine History” have works usually rendered from Spanish, thus requiring different approaches in research. 

Although there are “snippets” of sources online, Turingan said, they are not sufficient. “If the reading material comes from the internet, the tendency for readers is to simply scan. Unlike in books, you really search for it and read it,” she added. 

Turingan claimed exposure to social media can also affect the students’ reading habits and their ability to differentiate verified information from false ones as they “get information through scanning and not through reading.” 

Research demands effort and understanding, she said. It affects reading immensely because it is the foundation of one’s individuality and level of education. Reading is the path to proficiency. Leigh Anne E. Dispo with reports from Sofia Bernice F. Navarro


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