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Nurturing reading habit with bedtime storytelling

/ 01:37 AM May 22, 2017
GUEST READER First-time storyteller andGMA7 actor Yasser Marta reads “Ang Prinsesang Ayaw Matulog” during the Inquirer Read-Along. —ROMY HOMILLADA

GUEST READER First-time storyteller andGMA7 actor Yasser Marta reads “Ang Prinsesang Ayaw Matulog” during the Inquirer Read-Along. —ROMY HOMILLADA

Can’t sleep? Listening to or reading bedtime stories might help.

It was Saturday morning but some 40 children were retold some bedtime-inspired tales during a special session that celebrated Inquirer Read-Along’s 10th anniversary.


The event held at the Inquirer’s main office in Makati City also saw the induction of new reading ambassadors who were tasked with promoting love for reading and being a good model for the youth.

GMA 7 actors Kyle Vergara and Miggy Jimenez, who had both guested in several storytelling sessions, were sworn in as the 11th and 12th Inquirer Read-Along ambassadors, respectively.


“I’m excited to be an ambassador because I can influence more colleagues to inspire children to love reading,” Vergara said.

“I have had a great experience in my Inquirer Read-Along journey and being an ambassador will enable me to promote further the purpose of this program,” Jimenez said.

Read-Along ambassadors

Other Inquirer Read-Along ambassadors are TV host Kim Atienza; actresses Nikki Gil, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Alexa Ilacad and Bianca Umali; actors Mark Neumann and Nash Aguas; Miss Universe-Philippines 2007 and lawyer Anna Theresa Licaros; TV broadcaster Cathy Untalan-Vital; and Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez.

Veteran storyteller Dyali Justo of Adarna House read Annie Pacaña-Lumbao’s “But that won’t make me sleep,” about Maya, a young girl who couldn’t sleep until her father came home.

A similar story was retold by first-time storyteller and GMA 7 actor Yasser Marta, who read “Ang Prinsesang Ayaw Matulog” by Feny de los Angeles-Bautista.

It is about a young princess who eventually falls asleep after listening to bedtime stories.

Ann Abacan, principal of Sophia School in Meycauayan, Bulacan, read an Aesop fable, “Ang Matalinong Oso,” which told of a greedy carpenter and tailor who learned to render work without demanding compensation in advance.


Vergara retold Robert Magnuson’s “Mister Beetle’s Many Rooms” about Beetle’s house—
a small tree—that later became home to other insects.

“The story teaches us not to misjudge others and to be appreciative of others’ efforts,” he said.

Jimenez read Bonjay Isip-Garcia’s “Ang Limang Mahiwagang Salita,” a story about the importance of courtesy in speech.

“Young people must show utmost respect to the elder ones, and it can be done by simply saying ‘po’ and ‘opo,’” he said.

Reading habit

Justo and Abacan both agreed that bedtime storytelling nurtured a child’s reading habit.

“For my daughter, bedtime storytelling helped her to develop reading skills at a young age. [It also] served as a bonding experience for both of us,” Justo said.

“I believe that if you want your child to be really good at reading, start doing it when he or she is still young,” Abacan said.


For having facilitated hundreds of Inquirer Read-Along sessions for the past decade, Justo and Abacan were both grateful to be part of the program.

“It feels like I’m with a family,” Justo said. “We started small but now have grown into a community of volunteers who teach love for reading among kids.”

Abacan said she looked forward to every session as it challenged her to come up with new and creative ways of storytelling.

“I get new learnings from every session and they have helped me to become a better person not only in the craft but also in dealing with children,” Abacan said.

Launched in 2007, Inquirer Read-Along is a corporate social responsibility program of the Philippine Daily Inquirer that aims to combat declining readership by promoting love for reading among children.

20,000 children

Since then, more than 20,000 children ages 7 to 13 from over 50 cities nationwide have joined the program, which featured over 400 celebrities and role models as storytellers.

The Saturday session, hosted by Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega and Junior Inquirer editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo, was done in cooperation with Wilfred Villaruel of GMA Artist Center.

The next session on May 27, the second part of the 10th anniversary celebration, will also be held at the Inquirer office in Makati.

Interested participants and sponsors may contact Odeng Orolaza at (02) 897-8808 loc. 330 or at

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TAGS: Books, celebrated Inquirer Read-Along, Philippine news updates, Reading, storytelling
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