Read-Along teaches anyone can be leader, hero
MANILA, Philippines—Anyone can be a leader.
Students from the Good Shepherd Montessori School learned this and more during last week’s Inquirer Read-Along Caravan session held in Pasig City, featuring Read-Along ambassador Karen Davila and veteran Read-Along storyteller Dyali Justo.
Davila read Segundo Matias Jr.’s “Alamat ng Ilang-Ilang,” a story about a young girl who steps up and fills the shoes of her father to lead her town, while Justo read “Si Hugo, ang Pahamak na Hunyango,” a story about a chameleon who becomes the unexpected hero of his group.
The Read-Along Caravan is a series of sessions conducted by Read-Along ambassadors and storytellers at various Metro Manila schools in the runup to the Read-Along Festival, which will be held on Nov. 12 and 13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
“My favorite moment was when Ilang prayed to Bathala and she became strong,” said 11-year-old Andre, one of the students at the session. “She proved a lot of people wrong when she became as courageous as her father, the datu.”
“I learned today that anybody can be a hero and a leader. What is important is that you have faith in yourself,” he added.
Davila, a news broadcaster who described herself as a frustrated teacher, said that moments like these were what make read-along sessions enjoyable. “I was very impressed. For example, when I asked them to name a female leader in the Philippines like Ilang, somebody said Cory Aquino. Then I asked about the parallelism between Cory Aquino and Ilang, and somebody answered, ‘Their courage.’ It was a complex question and they were able to answer it.”
Girls can lead
“And then when I asked about the lesson of the story, it was a boy who said ‘Girls can lead’,” Davila added.
“I think kids today do not read as much, so when they hear someone read with sound effects, or when you put pictures up, when you make it exciting for them, I honestly think they get surprised that it can be that interesting,” she said.
With today’s generation wrapped up in iPads, movies and cable shows, Davila said that kids today read in school and only when they have to. “What I want them to learn is that books are exciting. Stories are compelling,” she said. “So if I read, my imagination grows, and I also get excited, kilig (tickled pink), scared. I want them to know that all emotions are complete in one book.”
Davila came to the session with her sons David and Lucas. “I have two boys and I never assume that they’re listening. With kids, it’s always a fight for their attention. So when you have it and then they get it, it’s such a light bulb moment,” she said.
Grade 4 student Kiensel, 9, said the session “taught me confidence. I want to be a leader too someday.”
Matthew, one of the older students said he learned a lot from his first time at a storytelling activity. “As an older student, I learned that I can also impart knowledge to my younger schoolmates, who look up to us as leaders,” he said. “I am glad that today they learned values like leadership and perseverance.”
The session was part of the school’s annual Book Week celebration. “We celebrate Book Week because we believe this would bring out the best in our children. Even though classes were canceled, we made sure to push through with the activity because we did not want to miss the opportunity of having the Read-Along in our school,” said Ma. Lourdes Chua, Good Shepherd Montessori School president.
Classes were cancelled in Metro Manila on Monday last week to give way to the Iglesia ni Cristo’s medical mission, but the school decided to proceed with the day’s activities, which included a book fair by Scholastic.
Thankful for caravan
“I got the idea of inviting the Read-Along to our school after reading the Inquirer Read-Along caravan article featuring Kim Atienza at Chinese International School,” said Sorita Miranda, Good Shepherd Montessori English teacher and Book Week coordinator. “We are very thankful you visited our school.”
Monday’s session, hosted by Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was held in cooperation with Good Shepherd Montessori School.
Davila was the third Read-Along ambassador to read in a caravan session, after Atienza on Sept. 4 and Anna Theresa Licaros at Assumption College on Sept. 16.
The next caravan session will be held at Miriam College on Oct. 21 with Inquirer Read-Along ambassador, president and CEO Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, as the reader.
Each caravan session features a special Q&A segment with the read-along ambassadors, mostly centered on their experiences with books.
Launched in May, the Read-Along ambassadors program features celebrities who have pledged to be role models for the youth and to promote love of reading. Other ambassadors are singer Nikki Gil, actress Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Miss Earth Foundation executive director Cathy Untalan.
This year’s Inquirer Read-Along Festival is copresented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and McDonald’s. Schools interested in sending students to the festival may send an e-mail to [email protected] or call Ellen Caparros at 8978808 local 329. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.