Transforming Students’ Reading Engagement through a Community-based Literacy Program

Jennica L. Gan, Dina S. Ocampo


Reading engagement, which includes reading attitude and leisure reading practices, is an important aspect of reading development. This non-cognitive aspect of reading has yet to be studied in a community-based literacy program. This ethnographic study aimed to investigate the effect of a community-based literacy program on the reading engagement of its students and the key factors that influenced the transformation. Specifically, it looked into the Balsa Basa community-based literacy program situated in a remote area in the Bicol region. Twenty-four students in the community, together with their parents/guardians, participated in the workshops, interviews, and surveys. Results from quantitative and qualitative data show that the Balsa Basa program had positively transformed its students’ attitudes towards reading and leisure reading practices. The key factors that contributed to the reading engagement transformation were the increase in the supply of printed materials, the abundance of pleasurable opportunities for reading, and the promotion of student empowerment (i.e., assignment of Little Teachers). The findings suggest that community-based literacy programs have the potential to influence students’ reading development. It is recommended that such programs be developed in other communities to help address students’ literacy needs.

Keywords: community-based literacy program, reading engagement, reading attitude, leisure reading practices

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