Read-along kids no half-baked learners | Inquirer News

Read-along kids no half-baked learners

Just to make sure the kids wouldn’t grow up to be half-baked learners, master cake maker Penk Ching came with measuring cups, spatulas and a special “witch’s cauldron.”

She would teach them how to make Harry Potter’s favorite pastry—the treacle tarts.


Taking time out from designing wedding cakes, Ching treated some 70 public school students from Makati City to a special “read-and-bake-along” session on Wednesday at the Inquirer main office.

Ching used a recipe featured in the Harry Potter books.


“I never imagined that reading and cooking could be mixed together, but it works,” said Yana Gianan, an F. Benitez Grade 4 pupil.

Before starting her baking demonstration, Ching also read the short story, “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” from “Tales from Beedle the Bard,” also written by Harry Potter’s creator, J.K. Rowling.

The story tells of a young wizard who learns the importance of using his father’s magic pot to help his neighbors.

An appetizer

Ann Abacan, the principal of Sophia School, kicked off the session with a lively interactive reading of “Si Joey at ang Gulay Gang” by Beng Alba. Published by OMF Literature, the book is about a boy who discovers the joys of eating vegetables.

“I really enjoyed this session, the kids were very participative. They weren’t shy and were very eager to help,” Ching said. It was her first time to teach kids aged 10 to 12.

“I usually do demos for older students,” Ching told the Inquirer. “I also used to conduct demos with very young children aged 7 to 9. But with this age bracket, it’s my first time. And I really had fun.”


Step by step

With the recipe flashed on the screen, Ching guided the kids through each step, showed them the ingredients and taught them how to use measuring cups and tablespoons.

She also enlisted the help of volunteers in mixing the ingredients for the tart’s crust and filling, and in cutting the dough, much to the delight of the students.

In the audience were students from F. Benitez Elementary School and San Antonio Elementary School. At the end of the session, the children were treated to mini-tartlets prepared beforehand by Ching and her staff at Pastry Bin.


“I can’t wait to try the recipe at home!” said 12-year-old Hazel Medrano, a student of F. Benitez. “I hope that the end product will be as delicious as Chef Penk’s creation.”

Medrano was among the 60 students from Grades 4 to 6 brought to the session by F. Benitez principal Cecilia Payumo and teachers Obdulia Macaranas and Marlie Honorio.

“It was obvious that the children enjoyed the session. They were very active and participative,” Macaranas said. “The adults, including and especially myself, clearly enjoyed it as well. As a teacher, I appreciate that read-along is not just informative but also really enjoyable.”

It was the first time for 10-year-old Happy Bolongaita to attend an Inquirer Read-Along session and she “can’t wait to come back.”

Bolangaita, who loves to cook with her mom, added: “The readers were very good and the cooking portion was a lot of fun.”

Winning attention

John Jerson Abad, a Grade 6 student at San Antonio Elementary School, said the session was “really informative.”

“I learned a lot of new things. I have a new appreciation for reading and I think I might take up cooking,” said Abad, who stood out as the only boy in the audience.

Teacher Antonio Canlas, who brought Abad and nine other pupils from Grades 5 to 6 in San Antonio, praised the Inquirer Read-Along session for being able to “get the full interest of the children.”

“As a teacher, I know how difficult it is to grab the attention of the children,” Canlas said.

“It was amazing how the students’ full attention was focused on the readers for hours. The readers were very good and I think the baking was a nice touch.”

‘My favorite things’

Not a stranger to the Inquirer Read-Along sessions, 11-year-old Sophia Sanchez, also of San Antonio, said Wednesday’s session was “a unique event.”

“I like to read and I also like to cook. Today’s session was like a mixture of two of my most favorite things. It was really cool,” Sanchez said.

The session, hosted by Junior Inquirer editor in chief Ruth Navarra, was in cooperation with Pastry Bin, F. Benitez Elementary School and San Antonio Elementary School. The children received books from Vibal Publishing and the Rotary Club of Makati at the end of the session.

A special Inquirer Read-Along session will be held on Aug. 19 at Doña Teodora Alonzo High School in Sta. Cruz, Manila, to commemorate the 100th death anniversary of the mother of national hero Jose Rizal.

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TAGS: “Si Joey at ang Gulay Gang” by Beng Alba, “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, ” “Tales from Beedle the Bard, ” J.K. Rowling, master cake maker Penk Ching, OMF Literature, Philippine Daily Inquirer's (PDI) Read-Along program, principal Ann Abacan, Sophia School
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