Save the Children Philippines has advised parents and guardians to nurture love for reading in children while they are at home due to the Enhanced Home Quarantine imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said parents and guardians can spend time reading to their children as a meaningful and enjoyable activity while in quarantine.
"Parents need to invest time to read stories to their children to build strong bond and nurture children’s love for reading,” said Atty. Muyot.
A study by Save the Children in 2015 show that children develop love for reading when parents and elder siblings read to them. The study was done to determine the impact of reading camps, home literacy habits and reading attitudes among families and communities.
Save the Children Philippines has implemented the Literacy Boost in 2013, a program to instill love for reading and improve literacy outcomes to ensure children learn to read when they finish Third Grade. It includes assessment of children’s reading skills, upskilling of teachers and mobilizing communities to involve parents and volunteers in supporting children.
The program was piloted in Save the Children Philippines program areas in Metro Manila and South Central Mindanao. Save the Children Philippines implemented Literacy Boost in cooperation with the select divisions of the Department of Education in Metro Manila and South Central Mindanao.
The study revealed improvement in children’s interest in reading (66%); children’s reading ability; and has taught children to love reading (40%).
Globally, Save the Children introduced Literacy Boost to address the alarming global increase in the numbers of children, estimated to reach 400 million, who finish primary school but unable to read well enough to learn.
Sierra Paraan, advisor for Basic Education of Save the Children Philippines said the disruption in education due to COVID 19 pandemic may exacerbate the situation of children who are already struggling to read and write. She highlighted the importance of supporting children’s continued learning even in home settings.
The Literacy Boost program includes effective programs that children enjoy such as storytelling and play-based literacy activities.
“While in quarantine, parents and guardians can also have fun and do meaningful activities that foster literacy skills and improve relationships with children and youth,” Paraan said.
There are literacy activities that parents and guardians can do with children. These include reading to children, singing along to songs and dancing to music to ease stress and anxiety of both adults and children.
A daily routine of at least 20 minutes to spend time with children is a good start to make them feel loved and secure and will show they are important. Other activities include doing chores together, writing and reading poetry/stories.
“Children and youth face stress when they miss out on school,” said Atty. Muyot, adding, “Parents and guardians can make the most of the quarantine period to address this problem while strengthening their relations with their children through learning activities.”