It is a well-known fact that when there were no televisions or computers, reading was a primary leisure activity. People would spend hours reading book and travel to lands far away in their minds. Reading can widen our horizon. Beyond doubt, knowledge can be gained from from reading. It gives us a bigger picture of the world and would help us be at par with other countries. Libraries can promote the importance of reading but the tragedy is when the people including the students would prefer to go to different malls than to visit the school library or the public library.
Nowadays, the students have lost their skills and passion to read because there are many other exciting and thrilling options available, aside from books. Reading helps in mental development and is known to stimulate the muscles of the eyes. It is also an activity that involves greater levels of concentration and adds to the conversational skills of the reader. It is an indulgence that enhances the knowledge acquired, consistently. The habit of reading also helps readers to decode new words and phrases that could come across in everyday conversations.
It is a big help to stay in touch with contemporary writers as well as those from the days of yore and makes us sensitive to global issues. Most of the developed countries believed that one of the foundations of a certain nation is the passion of the 2 people to read. According to the Public Library Service Group of Singapore, “Reading is a key to igniting the cycle of innovation and creativity. ”1 To give emphasis to the importance of reading to innovations or inventions, the researcher would like to look back to the history of the world.
The age of the great inventions was in the 18th century and this was the century of Europe. 2 Without reading, it is impossible to have great inventions during those times and for such a time as this. President Abraham Lincoln had a famous perspective of reading. He said that reading enlightens our mind, broadens our horizon, expands our knowledge and opens up new avenues. This was the reason why the Americans took the lead for two consecutive centuries, the 19th and the 20th century. American power will not disappear anytime soon, but the twenty-first century seem likely to be the Asian Century.
3 The 21st century indeed belongs to Asia. Like in Dubai, they promote the importance of reading and they want to create a knowledge-based economy and further elevating the position of Dubai’s public libraries as community center for knowledge sharing and intercultural dialogue. Yes, a center for knowledge, for knowledge is one of the products that can be acquired from reading. The different modern infrastructures that can be seen in China, Singapore, Korea, Dubai and to some other developed countries in Asia are just the output of this knowledge.
This is the reason why Singapore wanted to become a nation of readers. Fifty years 3 ago they were just a minion without direction but now they have redeemed their nation for becoming one of the first world countries in such a time as this. Thailand is also promoting the importance of reading and you can see that through their agricultural research. At the present time, they are now the top one exporter of agricultural products. Learning from these countries, one can observe that reading can lead to a rise of a certain nation and even can lead to a rise of a certain race. That is the power of reading.
Someone once remarked that the Philippines is a nation of non readers. In this study, the researcher would like to start somehow that the Philippines can also become a nation of readers. From one of the known authors which the researcher accept as true, he said that leaders are readers, and readers are leaders. 4 If this country would like to lead in the 21st century, this nation must begin to read. Background of the Study Why is it that despite Philippines supposedly high literacy rate, many Filipinos can barely read and write? Why have not this nation been able to develop a reading habit among Filipinos?
The maker of this research thinks that one of the answers is the deplorable state of reading among schoolchildren that was reported in the Manila Bulletin dated March 15, 2010. That is why Chevron Philippines Incorporated launched a Caltex Mentor Program to help the Department of Education 4 concerning over the alarming increase in the number of non readers in our country. 5 This was a survey that was made in 2004. The problem that need to be solved is not only how to improve the reading habits of the students but to get to the bottom line of the problem why they do not possess this habit.
In this day and age, a large number of non readers among schoolchildren are increasing. If these children will not be taught in their early age, it could be harder for them not only in developing reading habits but also in excelling academically. This problem is as dangerous and lethal as ignorance and negligence. Therefore, something need to be done. Juan Miguel Luz, a former education undersecretary said that the problem of non reading lies at the heart of why the Philippines is so uncompetitive in the world economy and why so many of the Filipino people continue to live in poverty or barely escape it.
6 According to a 2003 government survey, newspapers and magazines are read by only 46. 5 percent. Perhaps that is why most of the information people receive today is gathered from television (61. 8 percent) and radio (56. 7 percent). 7 From the National Statistic Office of the Philippines the simple literary rate in 2003 was actually lower at 93. 4 percent for the entire population for at least ten years of age. 8 This is just the survey that was conducted for the ability of a person to read and write with understanding a simple message in any language or dialect.
This does 5 not include reading and writing skills which leads to a higher order of thinking that allows persons to participate more meaningfully in life situations requiring a reasonable capacity to communicate in a written language. Based on a population of 80 million, 6. 6 percent illiteracy translates into 5. 3 million Filipinos who cannot read or write. Without a doubt, there may be even more Filipinos incapable of reading and writing a simple message, with understanding, than reported officially.
From the Philippine-Informal Reading Inventory Test, Schools Division of Manila, SY 2003-04, by the end of the elementary cycle, Grade 6, over one-third of elementary graduates were identified as frustrated readers. 9Here is the crux of the problem, with poor reading comes poor learning. Juan Miguel Luz added that to develop a reading habit, schoolchildren need books that tell stories in an interesting manner while developing a broader vocabulary. Textbooks, which are more lesson-oriented, lack the imagination for the children to develop the reading habit.
As an educator, the researcher desires to maximize the services given to the students up to however the school can help them in terms of improving their reading habits. Setting of the Study The Republic of the Philippines as shown in the map in Figure 1, is also known as the Pearl of the Orient. It is one of the countries in Southeast Asia. It is the world’s second largest archipelago consisting of 6 7,107 islands. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by Celebes sea, and on the west by the south China sea. The land area is 298,171 sq km and the total area 300,000 sq km.
The estimated population as of 2010 is 99,900,177. It is an agricultural land because it is so rich in natural resources. Wherever you go, its beauty has no end. Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Geothermal energy however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has harnessed more successfully.
The Philippines is the world’s second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country’s electricity needs being met by geothermal power. The setting of this study is Unciano College, located near Guadalcanal, V. Mapa and Old Sta. Mesa. Geographically, it is located at latitude 14° 36′ 1″ North of the Equator and longitude 121° 0′ 59″ East of the Prime Meridian on the Map of Manila ( Figure 2). About 200 meters away from the V. Mapa MRT station rendering it very accessible to commuters. The vicinity map of Unciano College is in Figure 3 where the most of its students live.