𝙱𝚢 𝚆𝚒𝚕𝚕𝚢𝚗 𝙻𝚒𝚣 𝙲. 𝚂𝚊𝚌𝚊𝚜𝚊𝚌
𝙼𝚊𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚃𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝙸𝙸
𝚃𝚛𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚆𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝙲𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚕 𝙴𝚕𝚎𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚢
𝙰𝚐𝚞𝚜𝚊𝚗 𝚍𝚎𝚕 𝚂𝚞𝚛 𝙳𝚒𝚟𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗
(Lifted from The Naliyagan Gazette Special Issue Reading on Wheels (ROW), the official publication of DepEd Agusan del Sur, May 2021, edited for publication on this page).
𝗛𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽𝘀 𝗵𝗶𝗺𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗯𝘂𝘀𝘆 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺. 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗲𝘀, 𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗔 𝘁𝗼 𝗭. 𝗛𝗶𝘀 𝗿𝗵𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗺𝗶𝗰 𝘁𝗮𝗽𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗽𝗵𝗮𝗯𝗲𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗴, 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺.
This scenario captured my attention. It made me realize in a broader sense that each one learns in different ways. Others may question whether learners with special educational needs (LSENs) can still develop their reading skills. Yes, I believe their reading skills can still improve if addressed adequately.
Everything is possible for those who believe everyone is unique. It is why Trento West Central Elementary SPED Center initiated Project Friday Mania Overload, an innovation conceptualized in 2018. This project addresses the needs of LSENs, particularly in developing their adaptive and interpersonal skills and love for reading. It also includes a feeding program, adaptive sports, and storytelling activities.
How did we do it? In our storytelling activity, we used big story books and story videos. We focused on developing their skills in paying attention to details and sequencing events. We also helped them to think critically in their own way as we practiced the high-order thinking skills (HOTS) during the comprehension check.
How is the sequencing of events done? We used pictures in number recognition. We asked the learners to put the numbers below the pictures, then arrange these pictures according to a given order or sequence of events. We also motivated them to retell the story in their way. We also used other strategies.
Their reading skills may not compare to the regular learners, but we can visibly observe their love for reading in their active participation during the activities.
Gradually they learned as they started recognizing the names of the letters and producing their sounds, enabling them to relate to the stories on a personal level.
However, for them to achieve high-level reading skills and comprehension may be a long shot, but a miracle is still possible. “Don’t limit me,” says Megan, a child with Down Syndrome. She was saying that they can achieve more than what people might expect.
Megan’s powerful message tells us that LSENs can still learn in our regular classrooms, only that they need more help. All things being equal, their needs are the same as the other students.
Undeniably, no one can fathom the happiness we teachers feel whenever we see improvement in our learners’ reading skills, which inspires us to design more creative reading activities and strategies for them.
We are thankful that our partners and stakeholders have supported our reading advocacies in our school. Indeed, it takes a village to educate a child.
LSENs deserve equal access to education even though they have different learning capacities. They are unique learners, and they learn in their special ways.