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“Back when I was about 6 years old, during my preschool days, every day was a storytelling session”,” Cedric Buñing, a Senior High School graduate, said.

Buñing said that the stories were different every day, mostly about local legends and fairytales. The storytelling helped shaped his creativity and visual conceptualization of ideas, as well as giving joy to a young kid through reading books especially those that are filled with visuals.

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“Storytelling tickles the mind, to kids, storytelling is a wonderful way to teach them lessons in life while being captivated by the story. The storytelling program of Sophia School is quite unique in terms of how the story is delivered, because each of the storyteller in the school can really bring every character they portray to life, creating a much more fun and interactive storytelling session”,” he added.

Storytelling has been a part of the lives of most students who grew up studying in Sophia School, they grew up hearing stories and tales of different kinds, while learning along the way.

This is what Sophia School wanted for their young students, to show how storytelling can be a well-grounded method in teaching life lessons and promoting love for reading among children, whereas they can enjoy it as well.

The School’s storytelling program achieves to have a strong foundation for their early learners in making books and stories an important part of their lives.

School Principal Marie Ann Abacan said storytelling is one of the most potent tools to teach young students about the love for reading and life lessons.

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“Children love to hear stories so it is easier for you to connect to them through storytelling. It may be a simple activity but there are a lot of advantages that you can gain from it.” Abacan said.

According to Abacan, the ambition for sustaining the storytelling program was to aspire kids to be lifelong readers, because reading should not stop in the classroom, it should also extend to their homes, and with this, parents are also vital in raising children who love to read.

Patricia Dela Vega, a Senior High School student, said the School’s storytelling program is really helpful in encouraging students to express themselves through reading and also in helping kids to be exposed in book reading while they are still young.

“I’m a really shy girl so I don’t always participate in this kind of event so when I got the chance to join a storytelling contest, I was really nervous but after that I think it helped me a little bit in boosting my confidence when speaking in public”,” she added.

Reading is not only a source of joy for both children and parents, but also has many added health benefits for their development and imagination, such as boosting their literacy skills, language learning, and even personality improvements.

Junior High School graduate Daniel Joy Aquino said that the program helped her in having a creative imagination and becoming a bubbly person, and she also enjoyed telling stories because of the training they had at Sophia School.

Literacy is fundamental if we are to have educated individuals and a genuinely free society, because it is a pathway on becoming into a deep rooted learner in things about the world we lived in.

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In fact, nine out of ten Filipinos age 10 to 64 years old were functionally literate, and the functional literacy rate among females (92.0%) was higher than among males (88.7%), according to the results of the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS).

To improve students’ reading comprehension, Abacan stated activities that are incorporated in the curriculum such as storytelling every day in the preschool level, integrating SRA Laboratory and Wikahon which help enhance reading skills, comprehension, vocabulary building, and reading comprehension in English and Filipino respectively, encouraging children to go to the library especially during weekends as part of their outside reading, and holding book exhibits twice a year in collaboration with Scholastic Books.

However, as children were exposed to the digital age, reading printed books were taken over by electronic devices, and according to the 2018 Readership Survey, children and young adults say that they spend more time on e-books than on any other format with 14.16 hours per month, followed by audiobooks with 12.68 hours, while they only spend 8.70 hours on print books per month.

Furthermore, the survey shows that Television and Facebook play big roles in influencing the youth on their sources of information on what to read, as it garners 43 percent each.

The School’s program educates and instructs young students how significant reading books are, because when we encompass children with books, we show them that reading is something that permeates life, and it provides opportunities for deeper, more personal, and most importantly, student-driven learnings.

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Moreover, Sophia School partnered with Inquirer’s Read-Along program which started since 2007 and up until the present with the goal to showcase more storytelling sessions to many children.

“Sophia School has been a partner in the Inquirer Read-Along Program for the past 12 years. This partnership is one of the school’s ways to promote literacy as well as give back to the community. Sophian teachers take turns in going to the Inquirer as part of their volunteer work.” Abacan said.

Aside from the ongoing partnership between Sophia School and the Inquirer, Abacan said that Sophia School has also always been invited to storytell for SM’s National Children’s Book Reading Day celebration since 2012, whereas public school children in Marilao and Meycauayan are the usually invited to become part of the audience.

Stories help us comprehend the world we lived in, teach us about where we came from and help us see possible futures; it is our education and inspiration for action, and through the stories we read and tell each other, we open a door to a lifelong learning.

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