Tales about kids for kids mark Children’s Month
Stories highlighting affection and concern for children took center stage at the celebration of National Children’s Month at the Inquirer Read-Along on Saturday.
About 100 children from St. Alphonsus Liguori Integrated School, Manggahan Elementary School and Mandaluyong Elementary School participated in the session at the Inquirer main office in Makati City which featured teen stars Bianca Umali and Miggy Jimenez and Sophia School principal Ann Abacan.
Abacan opened the Read-Along with “Ang Tahimik na Mundo ni Bunso” by Kristine Canon and illustrated by Frances Alcaraz, the story of a deaf boy and how his parents and older brother took care of him and helped him live normally.
Value of obedience
Umali and Jimenez in tandem read “Si Pilong Patagu-tago” also by Kristine Canon, the story of a playful boy who loved to play hide-and-seek and how he learned the value of obedience.
Umali also took her oath as a new Read-Along ambassador after the session. “It’s fun to be back. It’s more fun now because I got to read together with Miggy. The two of us are really close friends and we’ve known each other since we were kids. We also both like reading so it was really a good experience to do this together,” she said.
Jimenez said this was the first time he read to kids. “The session turned out to be more fun and comfortable than I had expected. As soon as I entered the venue, the children were already excited and attentive so I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Despite their busy schedules, the teen stars said they made time for leisure reading. Umali said some of her favorite books were Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and the Hunger Games series.
“I really love reading. I believe that if you really enjoy doing something, you’ll be able to find time to do it. I read before I sleep, or after I wake up, or sometimes while I eat. I also read while waiting on the set. Sometimes I’d rather read than sleep because it relaxes me too,” she said.
Jimenez said that Umali was one of the people who influenced him to love reading.
“I started to love reading after I read John Green’s ‘Looking for Alaska.’ Then when Bianca and I got to work together, our conversations would naturally go to the books we read. Once we went to a bookstore together with Miguel (Tanfelix) to reserve some books. So reading is really important to us, it’s something we enjoy together,” he said.
“We enjoy different genres. Bianca enjoys fantasy and action. I read romance, like ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ When I read, I imagine myself to be part of the story, like I am in the setting with the characters themselves. I think this is what makes reading important. It helps broaden our horizons and we realize that people can think differently every time we encounter new characters in stories,” he said.
They shared tips on how children could enjoy reading. “I used to not be a fan of reading. But once you find the kind of stories you enjoy, reading books comes easier. Find those stories you enjoy, the kinds of books you’ll love. Books can help teach you more lessons in life,” Jimenez said.
Grade 6 student Hannie of Manggahan Elementary School said she learned from Abacan’s story to be patient in dealing with persons with disabilities.
“We should be helpful and understanding of people like Bunso,” she said.
For Read-Along first-timer Divine, 11, she and her classmates enjoyed the storytelling by their “idols” Umali and Jimenez.
“Their story taught me that children should not make jokes out of serious situations,” she said.
“The whole activity was fun and enjoyable. Our children learned valuable lessons from the stories. I hope this will help further develop the love of reading in our students and they go back to reading books,” Didith Mendoza, intermediate head of St. Alphonsus Liguori Integrated School, said.
More than 30 Education students from Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) also attended the session. The observers, who are taking up elementary education courses and developmental reading classes, were accompanied by their professor and regular Read-Along attendee Osnel Melodillar. LSPU has been bringing its students to the Read-Along since 2008.
Fun and helpful
“We are regular observers of Read-Along. The program is helpful to the students because they get to observe how storytelling goes and this skill can help them when they become teachers. The students say they enjoy it a lot and they learn from this activity,” he said.
One of his students, Eileen May Atienza, agreed, saying that she “learned a lot and enjoyed the session at the same time.”
“The activity is very helpful for my course because I will be handling young children. Learning how to properly do storytelling will help make teaching lessons more fun,” she added.
Saturday’s Read-Along was hosted by Inquirer Research’s Rafael Antonio and was held in cooperation with Marian Domingo-Antonio and Lendl Fabella of GMA Corp. Affairs. Inquirer Read-Along Team
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