Young storyteller chooses books over gadgets | Inquirer News
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Young storyteller chooses books over gadgets

By: - Reporter / @MegINQ
/ 04:30 AM November 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Unlike a lot of kids these days, 6-year-old Tala Vita does not spend her precious time glued to a smartphone or tablet.

Instead, she gets a kick out of storytelling, being one of Inquirer Read-Along’s youngest storytellers on Friday to get on stage, which is quite the opposite of what today’s younger generation is used to doing.

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Danielene, Tala’s mother, first taught her daughter to read when she was 19 months old, starting with two-letter words written on her playing mats.

After reading aloud words like “hi” and “on” to Tala thrice, she was able to read them on her own.

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“She’s relatable and she can talk to others because she learns these things from books,” said Danielene.

She said it was this genuine interest that made her enroll Tala in a storytelling workshop.

Most outstanding student

In just a few workshop sessions, Tala graduated as one of the most outstanding students.

“I can [do] adlibs or more,” Tala said when asked about what skills she developed during the workshop. “I can even make them (audience) do something, like pretending to help [the character in the story] clean a chair.”

Dyali Justo, a storyteller for more than 20 years, said a certain discipline was involved in encouraging children as young as Tala to read books rather than simply resorting to entertain them with smartphones.

For someone who started volunteering to read to senior citizens at retirement homes at age 11, Justo said books were vital in developing a child’s imagination and vocabulary, as well as socialization skills.

“You need to expose your children to books at the earliest possible age. [That’s] discipline on the part of the parents … While children read, they become proficient in different fields,” she said.

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Learning from her mother

Justo added that her daughter, 18-year-old Luntian, is now starting out as a storyteller at Inquirer Read-Along after learning the ropes from her mother.

Luntian used to spend her hours as a child with Justo at bookstores, where they would sit at different corners both absorbed in stories.

“We wouldn’t spend any money, and we’d leave the bookstores without buying anything,” Justo said. “But at the end of the day, we were always satisfied and happy, and my daughter looked forward to reading books.”

As she watched Tala ask story-related questions to kids who were older than her at the Inquirer Read-Along Festival, Danielene said reading and storytelling developed confidence and a strong stage presence in children—something that was lacking in the detached gadget-based education.

“[Gadgets] can keep children from relating to people … Books open doors, open everything. If kids love books, if they learn from books, they would have curiosity, too,” she said.

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TAGS: gadget, gadget addiction, Inquirer Read-Along, Local news, Nation, national news, News, Philippine news updates, smartphone, storytelling, tablet, Tala Vita
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