“Why are we doing what we are doing?” Before the imminent surge of digital platforms for learning, should schools step back for a moment and pause with this question? Amidst the excitement over online tools and the multiple options available and are further developed at the present, shouldn’t there be a greater need to understand the implications and consequences—both positive and negative—of online learning?
Indeed, this worldwide pandemic has compelled every sector of society to study and implement alternative modes of accomplishing their functions and the role that technology plays has become indispensable. However, educators should not narrowly perceive technology integration and, in turn, the scope of technology in education. “Technology integration should be considered along with issues involved in teaching and learning” (Okojie, et. al, 2019).
Through the School of Tomorrow’s Reading Readiness and Learning to Read Programs(ABC’s of ACE), some significant pedagogical distinctives must be reviewed to inform the prospect of technology integration.
- The RR and ABC’s of ACE learning to read Programs subscribe to the developmental reading model. Teaching objectives are chosen that correspond to the child’s pattern of reading growth. The specific and systematic instruction in decoding is given emphasis but in a manner that is interrelated through opportunities for reading real and exposure to meaningful texts.
- These programs guide the development of higher order thinking skills. The integration of subskills starts from the beginning of the reading program. This curiosity and sense of wonder of children in their preschool years must be nurtured even as they grapple with their sounds and letters (Hermosa, p. 60). Comprehension questions are also employed to extend the lesson to real life situations and provide opportunities to instill Christian character traits or values and or incorporate the Gospel to the lesson.
- Reading is done for a purpose. Written or printed symbols are the culmination of all other kinds of reading. These symbols represent oral language which in turn represents our experiences. If the promise of written or printed symbols as a major tool for learning is to be fulfilled, the sooner a student can read independently, the better.
Thus, the early childhood education program of SOT equips children with not only the necessary strategies for using reading and writing for various purposes, but also experiences that will make them see reading and writing as both useful and enjoyable.
- A teacher’s views of the effects of reading affects how he teaches whether in a remote learning mode or normal mode. The preschool teacher must be aware that what the reader brings to the reading experience is very crucial to the very act itself. Though children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral and written language, some vocabulary must be taught directly. Additionally, when a child listens to a story, the words go into the ears and are converted into mental images. A teacher’s ability to tell a story and make it very engaging—to awaken a child’s sense of imagination and curiosity—is vital. And this skill of storytelling is not developed over time but through years of practice and exposure as well. How can this skill of effective storytelling be done remotely?
- The role of parents is crucial to providing a print-rich environment for a child. A print-rich environment is an environment where the child is surrounded by reading and writing materials, as well as “literacy models”—like parents and siblings who read and write for a variety of reasons. The most important feature of this print-rich environment is parents who “language” with the child—that is they regularly interact with and read to the child, include the child in literacy events, and constantly encourage the child in his early reading and writing attempts. Studies show that a child who comes from a print-rich environment is usually in an advantaged position to those who have had little or no experience with written language. This is one of the greatest challenges as schools transition to remote learning, especially when students are coming from a home saturated with digital media. COVID-19 or not, families involved in Christian Education have to be convinced of the importance of reading the Bible daily and reading per se. Parents, especially of young children, must be encouraged to take time daily to read a portion of the Scripture with their children. This is something that can never be overemphasized, for the Bible says that, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the steadfastness of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Aguirre, Roderick M. 2007. Notes on Remedies for Decoding and Word Recognition Deficits. National Seminar-Workshop. Arczone Learning and Professional Development Center
Hermosa, Nemah N. 2002. The Psychology of Reading. UP, Diliman: University of the Philippines Open University
N.A. (2006). “Traditional Books Provide More Positive Parent-Child Interaction” 2006). Cited by: Rothman, David. (2006). E-books vs. P-books for Teaching Kids to Read: Did the Study Use the Term ‘E-Book’ Misleadingly? Retrieved from http://www.teleread.org/blog/2006/11/15/e-books-vs-p-books-for-teaching
Okojie, M., Olinzock, A., & Okojie-Boulder, T. (2019). The Pedagogy of Technology Integration. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237335805_The_Pedagogy_of_Technology_Integration
School of Tomorrow Procedures Manual, Volumes 1 and 2. Revised 1994. USA: Accelerated Christian Education, Inc.