Since I had been handling slow, er challenged readers in my class, I was obliged to think of saner ways to help them read. My years of seminars/workshops and so on were not enough to quench my thirsts groping around for saner strategies. I was at the brink of giving up when some of my pupils could not even read single sight word which comprised seventy-five percent of text. Imagine the feeling I had when some of them did not even have a slight idea of what we were doing, why there was need for comprehension and so on. One thing more, they would rather play or sketch or color an animal, manga character or whatever their hands could get–than read text presented them. I asked around on how to help these kids get the habit of reading, make sense of the text, enjoy the companion of a book, etc.Unfortunately, I did not find the answer. I was helpless, blaming myself why I decided to handle them sans any competence which I should have had in the first place.

Days passed by. Coercing them to read a story book or two did not help. I had even told them to bring their favorite books, but nothing happened. Nothing seemed to help. Then one day, I discovered something.

As I was walking down the street, I heard women playing bingo. Oh, wait a minute. These women had been playing this game and did not even become tired of playing. What might have been so special in playing bingo that made them so engrossed? Might be the pot money? Bonding moments? Or, they just wanted to kill time? A way of avoiding boredom?

Something popped in my mind. If I could use this game into my reading class would my pupils be able to read? Would they enjoy our reading session when there was a game portion like this bingo-like? Oh, I needed to find out.

When I had arrived home, I immediately got a pen, a paper and a ruler. I made a bingo card, then another, till I had twenty four pieces. Then, I wrote there sight words my pupils had difficulty recognizing. Right there and then, I had an innovation! I was able to adopt the bingo game into my reading class. Well, instead of using numbers like in bingo, I used sight words instead so as to cater the needs of my pupils’ reading problem. As for the name, I used Verbo which means dynamic, fun and meaningful.

After I started using such my pupils had fun time learning to read. Some volunteered to be the “caller” while the rest was busy playing with their classmates. As for “pantantos” seeds, pebbles, cut color papers were used. And from then on my class had been fun-filled when playing time came and reading motivation increased.

Larry Icabandi Nabiong

Has been teaching for 24 years in grade school in the Philippines. Teacher-mentor and innovator; one is “paper caterpillar– new way of concrete self-assessment of learning for young learners”.Said innovation is in development so as to become his legacy in this profession.

He is also a moocer, an online learner under AE-E Teacher program, Regional English Language Office (RELO) Manila, and US Department of State-sponsored massive open online course (MOOC)

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