Saturday, August 8, 2009

Raising eager readers

"Raising eager readers"
Sun.Star Davao, August 8, 2009

More than the newest toys or latest clothes, nothing gives my kids thrill and excitement than receiving their treasured books. Every night, it has become a habit for my husband and me to read a story or two to our children before bedtime.

Lately, our family has rediscovered the Hiyas books from the Christian publishing house, OMF Literature Inc.

Whether your child is between 4 and 12 years old or in their early teens, there is a wide variety of interesting titles to choose from which teach important values such as “trusting in God, helpfulness, honesty, respect for elders, kindness, patience, self-discipline and love for country”.

Because the stories are written in the Philippine or Asian context, children will be able to relate easily to the characters. What I like about Hiyas books are they present real-life situations like children being raised by widowed parents, having OFW parents or a child coping with a differently-abled sibling. All these are told in a very positive and inspiring light, and with beautiful illustrations to boot.

Some of my children’s favorite Hiyas stories like “The Secret Ingredient”, “Big Brother”, “A Dozen Pair of Shoes”, “Wow, There’s A Baby in Mommy’s Tummy!” and “Joey and the Veggie Gang” even have combined English and Filipino translations.

Since my youngest, Chelsea who is three and a half years old, is still in her “English-speaking stage”, I read the English version first for several times before introducing the Filipino version. 

Slowly, I noticed that her Filipino vocabulary and comprehension have improved significantly.

Well-loved writers of Hiyas books like Grace Chong and Dr. Luis Gatmaitan are past winners of the highly coveted Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for their entertaining and substantial children’s stories.

At an average price of P65 a piece, the Hiyas brand has been aptly referred to as “a gem of a book”, and it truly is!

Hiyas books are available at National Bookstore and OMF Lit Bookshop, Ground floor, Mitaji Building, Tionko cor. Mapa Sts., Davao City. Tel. 082.221.3416.

A total of 35 SM Malls nationwide simultaneously celebrated the National Children's Book Day as 
part of the malls' Corporate Social Responsibility program through the SM Cares Children Committee last July 21, 2009.

“With more than 2.8 million customers going to our malls daily, and with more than 1.2 million of our customers being children, we have put it upon ourselves to make our malls not just child-friendly, but more importantly, we have created opportunities and avenues for a kid’s growth and learning.” says committee chairperson Royce Cabunag.

“SM is now beyond shopping, entertainment, and leisure. It is now about taking affirmative action in our social responsibilities. It is about taking initiatives, to be instrumental in caring for children, the best way we can.” he adds.

Together with its partners from the Department of Education (DepEd), the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), Vibal Publishing and Boy Scouts of the Philippines, the National Children’s Book Day hopes to cultivate a love for reading and inspire kids into reading early to further improve child development.

At SM City Davao, the celebration was attended by Dr. Carmen Diamante of the Department of Education and Ms. Leoni Tinambakan of the Boys Scouts of the Philippines.

The event, with the support from academic institutions- Precious International School and Tumble Tots- Philippines with the assistance from the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs also highlighted children’s books as a tool in reinforcing rich and colorful imagination, instill proper values, and encourage children to explore and learn about other cultures.

Kudos to SM for being active partners in raising a generation of eager readers!

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