Local languages and literacy in the Philippines: Implications for early grade reading instruction and assessment

The author reviewed Philippine and international journals and textbooks related to language, education, and reading; publications written or commissioned by organizations known for work in international education such as UNESCO, SIL, RTI International, and Save the Children; attended conferences and reviewed conference proceedings and abstract books; used Philippine census data from the National Statistics Office, and reviewed research studies produced by students, particularly of the University of the Philippines College of Education in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. The result is a report that may be one of the most comprehensive literature reviews covering language and literacy in the Philippines. While the purpose was to gather information about language characteristics and existing research on reading acquisition in Philippine local languages to inform the development and implementation of early grade reading assessments, the relevance of information collected in this paper goes far beyond just reading assessment. By wedding linguistic information (e.g. language characteristics, acquisition, use, and changes), sociopolitical context (historical background, law, and education, language, and cultural rights), and the reality of Philippine classrooms, this report could also inform curriculum, teaching methods, and policy development, particularly with regards to mother tongue-based multilingual education.