Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: A Reaper at the Gates

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3)A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are three words to describe this book. Magic. Mayhem. Murder. The same three words I used for books 1 and 2. I am adding a fourth word for this third installment —mothers, which makes reading Reaper all the more difficult for me.

It is an exciting read, for sure, and it had me surprised and disappointed at some points in the novel. But, it is Sabaa Tahir’s explorations and presentations of mothers of all kinds and the many ways women can mother children not their own that moved me to tears. The human heart is only as big as a fist and a mother's can accommodate an entire world. Women are amazing beings and reading this book amplified it more so.

How a novel written for young adult readers can affect me like this is magic indeed. When is the fourth book coming out?

View all my reviews

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Language Experience Approach (LEA) Part 2 of 2


NATURE WALK - Go for a 10-15 mins walk in the garden or outdoors. Observe the surroundings. What do you hear, see, smell and feel? After the walk or stroll, talk about the experience. Write them in sentences, then read it aloud to yourself or to others.

My Favorite Things - Choose pictures of the things you like from old magazines. Cut them out. Paste each picture on a clean sheet of paper. Tell a partner why you like these things. Write it down once you are done sharing with your partner. Put them together to form your book of favorite things.

Wordless Picture Book - Tell the story of a wordless picture book using your own words to a partner. Write a sentence for each page of the book on a separate page.  Have your partner read what you have written down. Talk about the experience of telling and writing the story.

In Your Own Words - What is your morning routine? What activities do you do in a day? Write them down or draw it. Turn to your partner and talk about routines and activities you do. Listen to your partner as he/she talks about her schedule.

Before Going to School - List down the things you do before going to school. Draw the most important to you. Write the reasons why and read it aloud to your partner. Compare your work and discuss.

After LEA Activities

1. Identify relevant words in the written output.

2. Make a list of these words in a WORD WALL. As an extension, make a dictionary form these words.

3. As a reader, identify sentences that struck you from the works of your classmates/co-participants.

4. In a group, discuss reasons why you found the sentences meaningful.

5. As an extension activity, go to the library and look for:

a. Magazines about nature or the environment;
b. A book on scrapbook making;
c. Wordless Picture Books;
d. Posters, brochures or infographics on time management;
e. A book that has a poem or stories about school and friends in school.

Remember these basic principles of LEA as postulated by Roach Van Allen (1964), one of the proponents of LEA.

What I can think about, I can say.
What I can say, I can write.
I can read what I have written.
I can read what others have written for me to read.

Listen. Speak. Read. Write!

The Literacy Bug, June 2018 Retrieved

Harker, W. John. The Language Experience Approach. 

The Language Experience Approach (LEA) Part 1 of 2

“...the language experience approach (LEA) is a whole language approach that promotes reading and writing through the use of personal experiences and oral language. It effectively helps develop learners' print awareness, since learners see the direct connection between images and words. It effectively connects known vocabulary and new vocabulary with print words, since the experience and image(s) correlate with words in the written caption(s).” 

The Literacy Bug, June 2018 Retrieved

Using LEA in the classroom for group and one-on-one sessions has many benefits. It allows teacher and students to discuss experiences and to have these written down would automatically familiarize students with the structure of language and the dynamics of using them. From speaking about experiences, listening to responses and writing these down, students learn reading skills along the way. In LEA, students engage in the communication of their experiences, there is a deeper connection to content making learning more meaningful.

The Language Experience Process

Before and During the Experience
1. Establish a common experience.
2. Pay attention to this common experience and how language (vocabulary) is used and documented (organizers, journals, cards, digicams, social media, etc.)
3. Be aware of instructions that take place and how discourse is built from the common experience.

After the Experience
1. Display and show evidences of learned vocabulary, new, old and how it is constructed through graphic organizers (mind maps, flow charts, semantic maps).
2. Review how sentence structures and cycles manifest in students documented writing.
3. Provide feedback on their writing that will help improve and enhance reading and writing skills.
4. Repeat the reading of newly constructed texts and observe how memory further shapes of improves the telling or writing of the experience.
5. Use newly constructed texts and vocabulary for further study.

Extending the Experience
1. Find an opportunity to link new readings to the common experience, for example, poems, magazine articles, social media posts, advertisements and flyers.
2. Provide a connection of these readings to writing activities.
3. Reflect on select areas of the experience and activities with students. 
4. Record these reflections by keeping them in a learning portfolio.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Salaysayan 2018 Program: A Read Aloud and Storytelling Festival

Salaysayan 2018
A Read Aloud and Storytelling Festival

In celebration of National Children’s Book Day, the PBBY stages the 2nd Storytelling Festival with emphasis on Read Aloud as a strategy to bring to life books and the written word. This year’s Salaysayan is not a contest nor a competition but a celebration of the different and varied ways we can enjoy and learn from narratives and stories. Because PBBY believes in the valuable role of families in nurturing children’s curiosity and  in teaching them literacy skills, a talk for parents is included in the this year’s program. To further guide parents in selecting reading materials for their children, PBBY and Museo Pambata will stage a book display and book selling by publishers of children’s books.

By offering this wholistic and integrated program in this year’s Salaysayan, we are hopeful that we can achieve our goal of developing readers with a genuine love for books and stories. We dream that one day, our young readers become confident creators of their own narratives who are able to define, flavor and shape this nation’s collective narrative.

Date: Tuesday July 17, 2018
Time: 1PM - 4PM
Venue: Museo Pambata
Registration Fee: Php 250.00
Online Registration: June 20, 2018 - July 11, 2018

Book Selling from 10AM - 4PM

1:00 - 2:00 PM - Registration
2:00 - 2:30 PM - Plenary and Orientation at Karapatan Hall by Zarah G
2:30 - 3:30 PM - Parenting Talk: Children Growing Up With Books: A Developmental Perspective 
Resource Person: Teacher Vic Villanueva

2:30 - 3:00 - Room 1 Old Manila
Room 4 Bahay na Bato
3:00 - 3:30 - Room 2 I love my Planet Earth
Room 5 Paglaki ko room
3:30 - 4:00 - Room 3 Aklatang Pambata
Room 6 Katawan Ko Area

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Thoughts on Mother Tongue Based - Multilingual Education Training for Teachers and Librarians

It is very timely that I am running a book sale of the Bulilit Books-PROJECT LEARN Series as fundraiser for our eldest’s endeavors in music. I will use these books as one of the three samples for a session on writing and producing materials for a training-workshop on Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education in Cagayan De Oro next week. Having done preliminary research on MTB-MLE reports and best practices I have information on the relatively small literature of mother tongue based instruction in the country today. I am excited to do this workshop with friends from the National Library of the Philippines, nonetheless. I will be meeting a new community of learners.

Miyawing Kuting, Beybi Bibe, Magbilang Tayo Filipino versions

I recall the teacher training sessions I had in the past six months. One in Albay and one in Oriental Mindoro. The learning and insights I learned in Albay and in Mindoro are factored in this new module I have designed for public school teachers, school librarians and public librarians of Cagayan De Oro. One new thing I have added is a role clarification activity. Do we expect teachers to write stories in the mother tongue? Why not? But to what purpose? Where is pedagogy in the creation of stories? Why is there a learning resource management database and why give the task of managing the database to a licensed librarian? How effective are writing competitions in the growth and development of mother tongue materials? Is there documentation of all our mistakes and success stories? If there is, what does it tell us? If none at all, how do we make one?

The Cebuano versions of the Bulilit Books-PROJECT LEARN Series

I was invited as a writer of children’s books to run the workshop, but I am first of all, a librarian and a teacher who loves storytelling and believes in the power of narratives. I am challenged, yet confident enough to show MTB-MLE from different lenses: as librarian, teacher, storyteller and writer.

It is a journey that excites and  frustrates me interchangeably because writing didn’t come to me in a dream nor was it a gift from the muses. I did not breathe out a full story upon waking up. No. Writing, for me, has always been a struggle. The reasons are many. But I persist. It is a lot of hard work. 

The Hiligaynon versions of the Bulilit Books-PROJECT LEARN Series

 I will tell the story why and how it is so in the session on writing the Bulilit Books-PROJECT LEARN Series.

Darrel Marco, Xi Zuq and Tinsley Garanchon, keeping you all in mind when I run the workshop in CDO next week! πŸ™πŸΎπŸ’•

Friday, June 22, 2018

Salaysayan 2018: A Read Aloud and Storytelling Festival

It’s National Children’s Book Day on July 17, 2018! Join us by attending the Salaysayan 2018 at the Museo Pambata, 1-4pm.

Salaysayan 2018

A Read Aloud and Storytelling Festival

Open to kids of all ages and kids at heart! Enjoy and learn different ways in telling stories. Attend a parenting talk on books and children’s reading development by Victor “Teacher Vic” Villanueva.

To pre-register and for information on the registration fee go to this link:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Rave Reviews for My Daddy! My One And Only

It is Fathet’s Day tomorrow, June 18, 2018 and My Daddy! My One and Only! (Gagatiga and Tejido, Lampara House 2013) has topped the list of favourite daddy books!

Reviewed and recommended by Alexine Parreno in Smart Parenting, this is what she said of our book.

“The text is simple and illustrations are adorable. This book has so much love to share, making it perfect for reading together as a family,”

Read the full review by following this link:

You will also find out the daddy books that made it to the top 7 list!

Over at Instagram, @pumplepiebooks recommends My Daddy! My One and Only as a good read to celebrate the wonderful ways fathers show their love. Check it out here:

Lastly, enjoy this Father’s Day banner by Jomike Tejido.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Teacher on Center Stage: Teacher Anna Bacudio and the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center (2 of 2)

Teacher Ana Bacudio shares with us the miracles and generosity of strangers she met who helped her feed and teach the children of Dagdag Dunong Reading Center.

Here are the top three amazing stories that I would like to share about Dagdag Dunong Center.

Amazing Story 1 - There was  a time that the Cultural Center of the Philippines invited us to watch the play " Sandosenang Sapatos " by Luis Gatmaitan, where I brought 50 street children. This was part of our educational field trip called "Matuto sa Lakwatsa". One of the children was a polio victim carried by another child on his back because he doesn't have a wheel chair. Another child has Down Syndrome and I asked his mother to accompany him. I asked all of the children and the carers to wear red shirt so that I can easily locate them as CCP is big. 

Some of my children do not wear shoes, most of them wear slippers only. As we are falling in line at the back of the door entrance (paying clients will enter the theatre first, we have complimentary tickets only) a man approached us and asked me if we are an orphanage. I told him that we are from the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Singalong and we are invited by CCP to watch the play for free. I even told him that I am shy because some of my children do not wear shoes as they are poor and their parents can't afford to buy new shoes for them. The others who wear shoes have worn out shoes just like the smallest girl in front of the line who kept fixing her shoes because its strap was broken. The man looked at the children intently and suddenly he told me to give him a list of the children with their corresponding shoe sizes and he will buy shoes for all of them. I told my carer- assistants about that and the children were so intelligent that they know exactly their shoe size. Within five minutes, the list was complete and I handed the list to the man together with my address and contact details.

We are still in the line when the man approached me again and asked where are we going after watching the show which will end by 12nn. I told him that we will go home and I will cook rice for them at home as we don't have budget for fast foods.

The man said that he has bought and reserved 60 chicken joy meals at the Jolibee food store just across CCP for all of us. The children were so happy upon learning that and they enjoyed the play as well as the Jolibee meals. We arrived at the reading center at 2 pm and we rested and by 4pm, a child came to me saying that the man has arrived with the 50 pairs of shoes. 

The children were so happy. Indeed God is kind and merciful.

Building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Oriental Mindoro is building a community of readers too.

Amazing Story 2 - The Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Manila became a site where miracles do happen, because of the children's prayers and their mere presence.

It was December and the Lectors Commentators Group of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, the parish organization where I belong, planned an early Christmas party. They asked Php 250 from each member as contribution for the foods and prizes for the games. I said that I am very sorry that I cannot attend the said party as I will use the 250 to buy 4 kilos of rice and chicken tinola to feed the hungry children of Dagdag Dunong as the start of our 6 months feeding program started within the same week. We have used the 250 pesos as the seed money to start our feeding program for around 30 hungry street children of Manila. The children prayed grace and enjoyed the rice and tinola on that day. 

The next day, somebody  messaged me and said that his friend will help our reading center. We met his friend named Sir Gani at Greenbelt Makati and after having coffee with him, he introduced us to his friends who are also Singaporean Muslims like him. We brought him to the reading center and he asked me what do we need at the center. I answered him that we need rice, meat or chicken to feed the children. We need chairs and tables and bookshelves too. He said that we will go to the rice store after asking me how many kilos do we need to cook per day to feed all the hungry children I answered him that we need 5 kilos a day and he bought 20 sacks of rice which will last for 6-8 months of feeding program. 

We were surprised but were so happy for his generosity.

Our next stop was the furniture store where he bought 30 pcs. of monoblock chairs and 5 kiddie tables. He said that he wants to see the children and told me to bring 100 children to Jolibee on Sunday. On that Sunday, 100 children enjoyed their Jolibee meals together with their three Kuya’s who have shared their blessings with the least fortunate.

God has multiplied the four kilos of rice and one half chicken just like what He did when He multiplied the five loaves of bread and two fishes to feed the 5000 men in the bible. 

Anna and husband Virgilio smile with members of the community in Baco, Oriental Mindoro
building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center.

Amazing Story 3
- As a Pinoy Reading Buddies volunteer, trainor and facilitator, my husband and I travel to far flung areas where we are needed to conduct the free workshop on how to engage young readers among public school teachers and librarians. We do not choose the places where we will go. We just obey where God sent us to teach and be a witness of God’s love to Dagdag Dunong.

It is the month of November, in 2016, when my second daughter was scheduled to take the Bar Examination. The children of Dagdag Dunong were praying for her to pass too. We were in Manila on the first Sunday of the Bar exam and we accompanied my daughter to UST at 6 am and fetch her at 6 pm after the examination. But on the second Sunday, we were scheduled to conduct the reading workshop at Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon and on the 3rd Sunday in West Visayas State University in Iloilo. I requested my sister to attend to the needs of my daughter like cooking her meals and baon as well as accompanying her to UST for the 

We went to Mindanao and Iloilo to conduct the reading workshops,  heeding the tasks entrusted to us by God. This was against the will of my daughter, but we told her that we are doing that as our work of mercy and prayer, begging God to bestow on her the knowledge needed to answer her bar examinations well.

When we returned to Manila we again accompanied her on the last Sunday of  the bar examination and attended to all her needs, food, comfort and prayers too. And she passed the bar examination indeed in May of 2017. 

An INKie Bags the 2018 Alcala Prize

Congratulations to the winner of the 2018 Alcala Prize!

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People awards the 2018 PBBY-Alcala Prize to Arade Louise P. Villena, a graduate from the University of the Philippines and a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK), an organization of children’s book illustrators in the Philippines. 
This year’s PBBY-Alcala Prize called for entries based on the 2018 PBBY-Salanga Prize-winning story, May Alaga Akong Bakulaw by Becky Bravo. May Alaga is a story about how a little girl helps her neighbor battle depression. 
The contest is co-sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and The National Library of the Philippines. The PBBY also recognized two Honorable Mention winners: Harold Monzon of Pasig City and Angelica Shelley Tam of Marikina City. Villena shall receive P 25,000.00, a gold medal, as well as the opportunity to be published. This is her first PBBY-Alcala Grand Prize. 
For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Teacher on Center Stage: Ana Maria Acevedo Bacudio (Part 1 of 2)

In my trip to Mindoro Oriental last month for a teacher training workshop there, I had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people in the teaching profession and in the advocacy for books and reading. One of them is Mrs. Ana Maria Acevedo Bacudio. She is a medical technologist, teacher, researcher, storyteller, poet, translator, proclaimer of God’s word, mother, wife and Project Leader-Storyteller of Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Poblacion, Baco, Oriental Mindoro.

This is her story.

What led you to the teaching profession and the advocacy for books and reading?

I am A Medical Technologist by profession, having worked at the Manila Health Department Public Health Laboratory for 27 years, I have reached the peak of my career. I rose from the rank and was awarded as Model Medical Technologist in 1995, I have done various researches on Tuberculosis and have presented them in different countries like Japan, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, Italy and USA. The turning point in my life is when God called  me to teach the street children of our community in Singalong Manila.

That was in 2006, when I was still working as Medical Technologist from Monday to Friday and my Saturdays and Sundays were intended for the street children. We started our Read along and storytelling activities in Oct 2006 at the garage of our house in Singalong Manila. When I saw the children’s faces yearning for stories, I realised that I must teach them how to read and that was the start of the Dagdag Dunong Project. We have only a few books, preloved by my daughter and I bought some storybooks. I did not only teach the children how to read but also how to pray. I feel like children too when I am with the street children. I laugh like they did, play, pray  and read with them too. When I retired from government service in 2014, I shifted to teaching as my secondary profession. I handle and teach all major board based subjects of BS Medical Technology at Centro Escolar University in Mendiola, College of the Holy Spirit Manila and Family Clinic Inc.

Ana Bacudio with Mangyan chidlren in Baco, Oriental Mindoro
In teaching college students, I have shared the knowledge, skills and experiences that I have gained as Medical Technologist and  it is rewarding and joyful experience when I see them pass the board examination and practice their profession. I am paid for teaching them.

Whenever I  teach  the street children who are all smelly and lice infested, I feel so happy and fulfilled  when I see them smile and hug me after reading them stories, much more when I teach them  the rosary, grace before meals and prayer to their guardian angel. Everything that the children asked in prayers, the Lord provides. Teaching the street children how to read, pray and become God fearing earned me several awards like Outstanding Women Leader in Manila in 2008, Talk and Text Tipid Sulit Idol in Education 2010, Humanitarian and Apostolic Service, Outstanding Alumni of the College of the Holy Spirit Manila 2013. But even without these awards I will still continue to teach because it is  my calling and my way of worshipping God.

How did you start building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in San Andres, Manila?

Together with my husband, we founded and established the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center a non-profit, non-government purely voluntary organization with  permanent address at 1191 Arellano Street, Singalong, Malate, Manila 

Our Vision: A community with children who are knowledgeable,  loves to read, with excellent reading comprehension, verbal  and listening skills and who have access to a Reading Center equipped with good quality reading materials.

Our Mission: To promote literacy through reading advocacy and other relevant educational activities and to establish a Reading Center which will cater to poor children of Manila.

Teacher Ana Bacudio, reading aloud to children

Here are the milestones of our humble beginnings:

  • October 2006 - a poet friend conducted the first storytelling in our garage
  • More children have come so conduct storytelling every Saturday afternoons in the garage of our house 
  • November 2006 - my daughter Aina joined the Alitaptap Storytelling competition at the National Library
  • Applied the Read First and Say Techniques in all our storytelling sessions 
  • February 2007 - our 1st Matuto sa Lakwatsa (Educational Field Trip) was conducted at Marikina City and continued annually up to the present 
  • June 2007 - 30 children attended the PDI Read Along with Michaela Fudolig as the Storyteller  and continued up to 2011
  • January 21, 2012 - Dagdag Dunong was featured on ABS-CBN 2, Ako ang Simula, Happy Libro
  • January 2012 - formal opening of the Reading Center at Arellano St Singalong Manila 
  • May 2012 - 1st  Reading Camp was conducted at Hangin Garden,Tagaytay 
  • May  2012 - launched PROJECT RAM  Read Along with the Mangyans of Sitio Paraiso, Dulangan 2, Baco Oriental Mindoro
  • May 2015 - started as volunteer trainor facilitator of Pinoy Reading Buddies Workshop on how to engage young readers, have conducted workshops to around 1500 teachers in NCR, Palawan, Iloilo, Bukidnon, Negros Occidental, Sorsogon, Batangas, Puerto Galera,Baco, San Teodoro and Mansalay all in Oriental Mindoro
  • December 2015 - typhoon Nona damaged the books and flooded the  Dagdag Dunong Reading Center 
  • May 2016 - Rolling of the Mobile Library Jeepney of Hope to reach remote barangays of Mindoro where the Mangyan children live
  • At present we have started the construction of the flood proof and typhoon proof Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Baco, Oriental Mindoro 
In part two of the blog interview, Ana Bacudio shares with us her dreams for the future of the children in Baco, Oriental Mindoro and the current Dagdag Dunong Center being built in the area.
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