About building peace, love at Read-Along
SHRIEKS and cheers from around 120 children welcomed Saturday’s Inquirer Read-Along storytellers GMA 7 actress Janine Gutierrez, 2016 Metrobank Outstanding Filipinos Rujealyn Cancino, Col. Jocelyn Turla and Chief Insp. Ryan Manongdo, and Sophia School principal Ann Abacan.
The children from Mandaluyong Elementary School, Gregorio del Pilar Elementary School, San Antonio Village Elementary School, Makati Sporting Association and Virlanie Foundation heard stories about building peaceful and happy homes ahead of International Peace Day on Sept. 21.
Abacan opened the Read-Along with “Ang Hukuman ni Mariang Sinukuan” (The Court of Mariang Sinukuan) by Virgilio Almario, which is about promoting peace and justice. In the story, Mariang Sinukuan teaches fighting animals to be fair and honest with their fellow animals.
Cancino, Turla and Manongdo together read “Ang Batang May Maraming, Maraming Bahay” (The Child with Many, Many Houses) by Genaro Gojo Cruz, a story illustrating how a loving family is a priceless treasure better than a million houses.
Koko, the main character, comes from an impoverished family and their house is swept away by a huge flood. But because of the family’s love for each other, they are able to rebuild their home.
Gutierrez, a returning celebrity reader, read Ines Bautista Yao’s “A Place Called Home,” about a child’s quest to make new friends in his new home. The book is part of DMCI Homes’ “Bata, TARA na!” project which aims to promote love of reading.
Gutierrez said she had a lot of fun because the children were very energetic and cooperative. She hoped the children would “always stay curious and keep reading.”
In her storytelling, she encouraged the children to make friends. “I wish that the children learn to be sensitive and friendly to other kids they interact with. I hope they learn to always be willing to listen and be kind to others. I hope they learn the value of friends so they would never feel alone.”
She said her career requires her to work with new people all the time and she could relate to the story she read. “But it’s fun and I get to meet different artists. It’s also a learning experience on independence and how to adjust better.”
Gutierrez advised the children to keep reading and to read different genres until they find what they like.
“I asked the children if they liked reading and many raised their hands. I asked what their favorite books were and they had different answers like science, fantasy and history books. So I think the best way to encourage children to read more is to let them read a wide variety of books and help them find what they are really interested in,” she said.
Cancino, a master teacher from Pangasinan, said reading to kids was an enriching experience. “The activity is nice because it revives a genuine love of reading.”
Manongdo, a chief inspector at the Pozorrubio Municipal Police Station in Pangasinan, said he was excited and the children’s reaction was very inspiring. “More than a hundred kids were watching us and we could see their different impressions of the story. It’s satisfying that we could fill them intellectually from the book we were reading.”
Turla, a chief surgeon in the Philippine Navy, said reading to children was challenging because their attention span is short. “It was like bonding time between us and the children. It was a learning experience for all of us.”
Cancino added that great things come from small beginnings. “As the story narrates, it’s not easy to achieve success and most of the time you have to start from the bottom and face many challenges. I hope the children find the encouragement to dream, to be dedicated and determined.”
“The storm, no matter how turbulent, could only destroy the house, not the family that stays strong together and loves one another,” Turla said.
“We must also be grateful for the things we have, instead of bragging about things we don’t actually possess,” Cancino said.
Lopez urged the children to dream big as long as they believed and were willing to take the challenges that encompassed their dreams. “Use your education and character to overcome your trials,” he said.
Saturday’s session was hosted by Inquirer Research’s Rafael Antonio and was held in cooperation with Jhops Cruz of DMCI Homes Corporate Center, Laarni Luna of Metrobank Foundation and Kamesh Reyes of GMA 7 Artist Center.
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