In a time when children spend more time with gadgets, the UPLB Development Communicators’ Society (DevComSoc) wants to aid in developing their habit for reading through one of their staple programs: iRead.
Launched in 2010, iRead started as an initiative of DevComSoc 2004-05 Secondary Source (the organization’s version of a vice president) Daniel Jose who conceptualized the advocacy campaign two years before it started. The project primarily aims to have children be invested in reading and inspire them to dream big through the reading of short stories that contain moral lessons.
As their mantra goes, “touching young lives and unfolding great dreams.”
Traditionally, the iRead campaign is done in a traditional face-to-face classroom setup, partnering with elementary schools around Laguna to teach children, mostly first graders, the basics of reading and tell them short stories.
However, due to the constraints brought about by the pandemic, the DevComSoc announced in October that they will be shifting to virtual reading campaign, rebranding it as “iRead @ Home 2020.”
For this year’s iRead @ Home, DevComSoc uploads three types of videos, including one for reading literacy, another for storytelling, and another for parents on the importance of reading and the effectiveness of storytelling to the children.
For a literate nation
A 2019 report by the United Nations (UN) indicated that the Philippines has a 97.95% literacy rate, the highest in Southeast Asia. DevComSoc plans in helping with alleviating the remaining 2.05% to achieve a fully-literate Philippines.
In an interview with the Perspective, Lynde Delos Reyes Jr., a DevComSoc member who serves as one of the hosts of iRead @ Home, shared that the accessibility of these reading materials can be helpful in achieving their goal.
“Our advocacy in iRead is to make basic reading lessons, stories, and reading tips accessible to everyone, lalo na sa mga bata at magulang,” Delos Reyes said.
He added that the iRead team matches their approach to their audience. In dealing with kids, DevComSoc ensured that all activities can be fun while meeting the standards of learning how to read at the same time.
“Hopefully sa ginagawa naming ito, makamit namin ang goal na ma-develop ang habit ng mga bata sa pagbabasa at ma-inspire sila para mangarap nang malaki at maging mabuting tao,” Delos Reyes added.
To ensure accurate and quality videos, the team behind the reading campaign prepared their content ahead of time through their respective committees.
“Sa planning process pa lang ay pinag-isipan at pinaghandaan na ng mga head and their respective committees ‘yung mga content na mailalagay na [kailangang] i-address ngayon,” Delos Reyes explained.
The conceptualization and taping of every video is being supervised by the three committees carrying the three aforementioned themes of reading literacy, storytelling, and parental guidance.
“Ginagawa namin ito para hindi hassle ang isang committee sa pag-produce ng video kasi sa strategy na ito, ang iniisip lang ng [bawat] committee ay ang pag-produce ng 1-2 videos per month. We plan to end the first season [by the] last week of December or first week of January,” Lynde added.
He also said that in uploading iRead videos, they also considered the short attention span of the children nowadays. In doing so, DevComSoc made use of colorful graphics and lively music sound effects.
“We always ensure na top quality ‘yung videos na pino-produce namin lalo na sa visuals and audios [sic] kasi doon talaga maca-capture ‘yung attention ng mga bata,” Delos Reyes added.
He also shared some feedback from their organization’s alumni on the two episodes that they have published, noting that the first two videos served a great start for this virtual launch of the advocacy.
“Based sa mga feedback sa amin ng mga nakanood, particularly ‘yung mga alumni ng [DevComSoc], sobrang ganda raw ng initiative na ito dahil ‘yung mga anak daw nila dati ay hindi talaga mahilig manood ng mga videos ngunit [noong] pinanood ‘yung videos namin ay na-enganyo sila at nahumaling,” Delos Reyes said.
With regards to the schedule of video uploads, DevComSoc committed to release episodes in a “cyclical sequence.” As much as they want to publish new content every week, academic workloads prohibit
ted them to do from doing so.
“[We in DevComSoc] strive to release episodes every week, but we are not strict to [these] upload schedules because we [do not] want iRead to be something that would stress us out even more considering the current academic workload that we have,” he explained.
In concluding the interview, DevComSoc called for everyone to be a part of this advocacy by helping them spread their content on social media.
“With your help, we can inspire more children to read more, touch their lives, and unfold great dreams,” Delos Reyes concluded.
Photo by iRead / Facebook