City Councilor Raine Bayron's mobile library project brought over 6,500 books, reading materials, and educational references to 140 students of the Don Ramon Roces Memorial Elementary School in Barangay Bagong Sikat, Puerto Princesa City on October 18 to encourage them to read. (Photo from Councilor Judith "Raine" Bayron FB page)

Councilor Judith “Raine” Bayron is rallying barangay officials to undertake projects geared towards improving children’s reading comprehension.

Bayron, who has initiated a “Rolling Books” project aimed at the same objective, has urged villages to set up “book nooks” in designated areas and enlist volunteers who can encourage children to appreciate reading.

She noted that the Philippines is one of the countries with children having low reading comprehension skills. Since barangays can take action to increase their interest in reading, she said the responsibility shouldn’t be left to the schools anymore.

“Sana matulungan to improve yong reading, at saka yong literacy, and comprehension. Nalulungkot ako talaga kasi nga yong Grade 3, Grade 4, hirap magbasa. Parang hindi ako makapaniwala na ganoon,” she said.

Councilor Raine Bayron (middle) and Mayor Lucilo Bayron (right) present the City Library with approximately 1,102 books on general knowledge, novels, and novel series for young adults on October 17 through the Office of the City Mayor. (Photo from Councilor Judith “Raine” Bayron FB page)

She said that even teachers had told her that they’re back to zero on reading with many elementary graders because of the two-year absence of face-to-face classes due to pandemic restrictions.

She acknowledged that it would be challenging given that gadgets like mobile phones, touchscreen tablets, and laptops where children can play online games compete for readers’ attention with books.

But if the barangays can help get them interested in reading again, it will be a big step toward solving the problem of poor reading comprehension among children in Puerto Princesa.

“Yong ma-feel nila uli na makahawak ng libro, na maamoy yong libro, yon ang pinaka masaya,” she said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.