300 students attend biggest Inquirer Read-Along | Inquirer News

300 students attend biggest Inquirer Read-Along

By: - Research Section Head / @Inq_Researchers
/ 01:36 AM September 25, 2011

There’s nothing like peer example to get children hooked on reading.

This was the focus of last Friday’s special Inquirer Read-Along session at the Division of Pasig Library Hub which gathered one of the biggest crowds yet in the four-year-old Read-Along.


The 300 participants— Grades 4, 5 and 6 pupils from 28 public elementary schools in Pasig City—were all aspiring storytellers who were members of the “Big Kuya, Big Ate” storytelling clubs.

The “Big Kuya, Big Ate” program is an initiative of the education department’s Library Hub, a cooperating partner of Inquirer Read-Along, in which older students in various schools are organized into clubs to lead storytelling sessions for their younger schoolmates, the Grades 1, 2 and 3 pupils.


Health is the theme

Stories about caring for one’s health and overcoming challenges were the theme of Friday’s session, which was led by Athena Imperial, recently crowned Miss Philippines-Earth 2011 who will represent the country in the Miss Earth pageant in Thailand in November.

Imperial read “Crooked” by Mary Gigi Constantino, a story about a talented girl who overcomes cerebral palsy, while actor Martin Escudero read “5 Seconds Only” by Hannah Lyn Creencia, a story about a young girl who learns the truth about germs the hard way.

The two books won the Gawad Panitikang Pangkalusugan, a nationwide children’s storybook writing competition that was held last year.

Veteran Read-Along storyteller Ray Escasinas of Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines kicked off the session with Dr. Luis P. Gatmaitan’s “Ay! May Bukbok ang Ngipin ni Ani (Ani’s Teeth Are Rotten),” published by OMF Literature, which tells about a girl who eventually overcomes her fear of the dentist.

“It’s important for them (the participating pupils) to be able to experience activities like the Read-Along as they are the ones who will share the love of reading with their younger school mates,” said Josephine Macawile, the principal of Maybunga Elementary School.

“It’s good that we were able to expose the children to these stories, as well as these storytellers,” she said.


Genuine love for reading

“The main purpose of this Read-Along is to really develop a genuine love for reading among the students. The books are already there, you just have to encourage the children to read them,” said Digna Aquino, division Library Hub coordinator.

Imperial, a returning Read-Along storyteller and communications research graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman, said it was her first time to “read a book about a character with cerebral palsy, and my main goal was to tell the story in a way that kids would understand.”

“I was so happy because the children were very eager to participate. They were also very attentive,” she said.

A first-time storyteller, Escudero said he enjoyed the energy of the children at the session.

“Before reading to the kids, I was given tips on storytelling. My main concern was really keeping the attention of the kids. It was such a joy to see them enjoying my story,” he said.

Dr. Lilibeth Genuino of Mu Sigma Phi Sorority of the UP College of Medicine, which spearheaded the Gawad Panitikang Kalusugan, said the session was exactly what they envisioned when they initially thought of doing a storybook-writing competition.

“All we really wanted was to reach as many children as possible. We are thankful for the opportunity to share these stories in a read-along session,” Genuino said.

What they learned

For 11-year-old Tyrone Jethro Monakil, a Grade 6 student, the read-along taught him that storytelling is also an effective means to express his feelings.

“I feel really happy whenever I read to younger students as a ‘Big Kuya,’” he said. The best story for him was Gatmaitan’s “May Bukbok.”

Grade 5 student Trishia Faye Historillo, 10, also said that she enjoyed all the stories, particularly “May Bukbok.”

“I learned that it’s also important to always follow what your parents tell you,” she said.

Alyssa Mascariñas, a 12-year-old Grade 6 student from Napico Elementary School, said Friday’s Read-Along also made her realize how important it was to have a library.

“I realized just how important books are as sources of knowledge,” she said. For her, the best story was Constantino’s “Crooked” as read by Imperial.

Imperial was also 10-year-old John Mark Apitalco’s favorite storyteller. “I learned the importance of being friendly from her story,” he said.

Adrian Angelo Estilo, 12, a Grade 6 student at Liberato Damian Elementary School, said he enjoyed Escudero’s reading segment the most.

Friday’s session, hosted by Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was held with the cooperation of Dr. Florentina Lizano, schools division superintendent; Lhot Ortega and TV5; Cathy Untalan and Miss Earth Foundation; and Anne Malolos, Mike Alzona and the MSD pharmaceutical firm.

Vibal Publishing supplied the books that were given away as prizes in the Q&A portion. MSD and TV5 also gave books and other items that were distributed to the children after the session.

A special session will be held on Oct. 8 at the Inquirer main office in Makati to celebrate the Junior Inquirer’s anniversary.  With reports from Roxanne Abad and Odtagelyn Orolaza, Inquirer Library

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TAGS: “Big Kuya, actor Martin Escudero, Big Ate” storytelling clubs, Division of Pasig Library Hub, Philippine Daily Inquirer's (PDI) Read-Along program, recently crowned Miss Philippines-Earth 2011 Athena Imperial
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