PDI holds first online read-along
November 23, 2020

STORYTELLING The 10th Inquirer Read-Along Festival, held via Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook, was the first of its kind.

MANILA, Philippines — Building healthy practices and habits can help in coping with the new normal brought on by the pandemic.

This was the key message to participants of the 10th Inquirer Read-Along Festival, which kicked off Saturday with the first-ever online read-along session, featuring TV host and Read-along ambassador Kim Atienza and professional storyteller Ann Abacan.

The first day of the annual event, aired live on Inquirer’s Facebook pages, had some 60 kids joining via the Zoom meeting platform. It featured the theme “Reading for Health and Healing” to promote good health and safety practices amid the pandemic.

Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) associate publisher Juliet Labog-Javellana opened the read-along program, the first since the start of the pandemic, with a message of hope.

“We at the Inquirer are happy and proud to be able to continue read-along in this difficult time of the pandemic and the typhoons and it is so fitting that we shall hear stories of health and healing. We hope our stories and the presence of our storytellers will give joy,” she said.

Launched in 2007, the Inquirer read-along is a corporate social responsibility project of the company which aims to promote love of reading among children.

During the storytelling session, Atienza read “At Nabuhay ang Magagandang Salita” written by Genaro Gojo Cruz and illustrated by Jhucel del Rosario.

It tells a story from the perspective of a child who discovers words and acts of kindness in his household during the lockdown.

Atienza also showed the audience a monitor lizard, locally known as “bayawak,” and gave several trivia about the animal in a brief show-and-tell after his storytelling session.

Sophia School principal Ann Abacan, who has been a read-along storyteller since 2007, told the story “Sa Bayan ng Anihan,” also written by Cruz and illustrated by Del Rosario.

The story tells of neighbors who share a vegetable harvest with each other during the lockdown period and a family who learns gardening so they never run out of healthy food.

Abacan, also a nutritionist-dietician, said gardening could help families have food security during difficult times like the pandemic.

“Gardening can be a rewarding recreational activity that can be shared with the family members … During these trying times, gardening can also help families have a sense of food and nutritional security,” she said.

Students from J. Zamora Elementary School, La Paz Elementary School, Victorious Homeschool, St. Anthony Makati Montessori, La Paz Elementary School, La Concordia College, School of Saint Anthony and Renato R. Lopez Elementary School joined the first day of the festival.

The session was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) TB Platforms Project, which is being implemented by the University Research Company.

The festival’s second day will be on Nov. 28 and will also be broadcasted live on Inquirer’s Facebook pages.

—Arianne Suarez, Inquirer Research