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For Science Week, Read-Along kids learn about rain cycle

COMMERCIAL model and actress Joyce Ching reads to the children about the rain cycle at Saturday’s Read-Along at the Inquirer. RODEL ROTONI

MANILA, Philippines–Stories that sparked an interest in science took center stage at Saturday’s Inquirer Read-Along, which was held in celebration of National Science and Technology Week.

The Read-Along session, which featured teen star Joyce Ching and Sophia School principal Ann Abacan, was held at the Inquirer main office in Makati City.

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Rain story

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Ching read Gloria Villaraza Guzman’s “Si Munting Patak-Ulan,” a story about a raindrop describing the water cycle and how it helps people on earth, while Abacan read Fortunato Sevilla III’s “Ramon Barba,” a biography of the inventor and his contribution to revolutionizing mango production in the Philippines. Barba and biologist Angel Alcala were conferred the National Scientist Award on June 6 for their contributions in the fields of horticulture and biological sciences, respectively.

“We need to invest in the young minds of the children the value of science and technology so at a very young age, they could appreciate their importance as part of their lives,” said Diane Marie Bernardo, planning and evaluation service officer from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). “I’m glad the kids found the story of Dr. Barba fun and interesting despite some technical terms in its narrative.”

Responsive kids

“What I really enjoyed from the storytelling was the fact that the children were responsive. As a reader, it made me feel good that they were paying attention to me and to the story. I consider that as my biggest prize as a reader because I know the children learned something from me,” Ching said.

Ching, who showed great rapport with the young audience during her storytelling, said this was not her first time to read in front of kids. “I read to kids in our church too,” she said.

Asked what made her Read-Along experience different, she said: “It was fun because the kids were participative. Whenever I asked questions, everyone was eager to raise their hands and answer. They really paid attention to the storyteller.”

Ching admitted that it was a bit challenging for her to read “Si Munting Patak-Ulan” because she wasn’t sure how to hold the children’s attention.

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Not a simple tale

“I was really nervous because I saw that it was not a simple story. I felt I needed to read it exactly as it was because it talked about a process, something that happened for real. So it felt really good when I saw that the children understood my story well and they were able to answer all my questions,” she said.

To broaden the public’s understanding of scientific advancement in the country, Bernardo said the DOST had teamed up with the nonprofit scholarly organization Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science Inc. (PhilAAS).

PhilAAS has published three other storybooks featuring the lives of Filipino scientists in collaboration with the DOST-Science and Education Institute and Vibal Publishing. These include the life and works of Lourdes Cruz (discoverer of cytotoxin from Conus snail), Gregorio Zara (inventor of the videophone) and Arturo Alcaraz (the birth of geothermal energy industry).

Filipino inventions

Six more books about other scientists were in the pipeline, Bernardo said.

This year’s celebration of National Science and Technology Week has for its theme “Philippines: A Science Nation Meeting Global Challenges,” and will highlight Filipino inventions and livelihood innovations in an exhibition at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on July 24-28.

Favorite story

Parents and children alike enjoyed Saturday’s session. Nine-year old Zevina Bianca said her favorite story was “Si Munting Patak-Ulan” because she learned about the importance of rain in growing palay and plants.

Nine-year-old Kurt Hendrix, a first-time Read-Along participant from St. Anthony of Makati Montessori Inc., said he also the same story because it taught him about the rain cycle and how it helps plants grow. “Also, I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot of new things,” he added.

Kurt’s mother, Elizabeth, said: “I liked that they learned new things that are not usually shared in storytelling. For example, my son learned today that smoke is used in mango production and that water can be used to produce electricity.”

Session hosts

Saturday’s session, hosted by Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was held in cooperation with Sophia School, Lendl Fabella and Kamesh Reyes of GMA Network, Dunkin Donuts, St. Anthony of Makati Montessori Inc., F. Benitez Elementary School and Virlanie Foundation.–With reports from Dianara Obina and Shiela Mae Frias

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TAGS: Ann Abacan, Inquirer Read-Along, Joyce Ching, Makati, Philippines - Metro, Read-along, Reading, science week
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