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Muntinlupa Readers Book Club - Nurturing Present for a Better Future

The early years of a child’s life has a crucial effect on their future.

Amy, a niece of mine, grew up in an environment surrounded by a bookshelf containing two stacks of Collier’s Encyclopedia. Even though the books suffered from missing pictures and cut-out pages, she grew up with a natural interest in literature.

On the other hand, her younger brother, Carl, was raised during the technology era, where two-year-old kids are better with smartphones than their mothers. Although Carl acquired decent English due to his exposure to various YouTube videos, his attention span is comparable to that of a goldfish. At five years old, he cannot be bothered to finish reading an illustrated storybook simply because it is not a video.

Due to their different upbringing and environment, they grew up with different literacy levels. In our present day, technology is embedded in our everyday lives, and the grip of our child’s hand on the smartphone gets tighter every day.

If we want to prevent our children from becoming Carls, it is 

From a didactic point of view, these books can easily help them grow accustomed to both Tagalog and English (vocabulary, grammar, and sounds) and improve social confidence in terms of communication between the storyteller and the children.

Children’s literature also serves as an opportunity to preserve and pass on universal values, as well as give our children a peek into foreign and local life experiences, presented through fairytales. However, this could be counterproductive, as the child might grow up thinking that reading is only an act of decoding meaning. 

The program also promotes cultural aspects of our country. Most of our myths, fables, and fairytales help us peek into our traditional customs and our moral principles, thus representing an important part of our traditional heritage.

Furthermore, the program can serve as a way to

important that we, as knowing adults, take the initiative to create a nurturing and healthy environment that promotes positive attitudes and behaviors.

In Metro Manila, one admirable effort promoting a nurturing environment for children is the Muntinlupa Readers Book Club (MRB Club), launched by the City Government of Muntinlupa earlier in 2023. It organizes book reading sessions in different communities and aims to promote a culture of reading in every Muntinlupeños, and develop basic literacy skills such as reading, listening, and comprehension at a young age.

The program also promotes volunteerism and community building. At present, they are encouraging their citizens to volunteer as readers.

The MRB Club uses children’s literature for their reading sessions, which is the perfect material to entertain and educate. Children’s literature helps our child’s development in many ways, such as helping them grow their language system, establish good values, and appreciate our culture, all while enjoying the story.

 familiarize our children with Filipino authors as well.

MRB Club is a multi-layered program that seems simple at the surface but complex upon closer observation. While it is focused to be a program that aims to promote a culture of reading, it also indirectly fulfills the nurturing aspects that are needed in the early stages of our children.

As of 2023, 96% of the population can read and write, 3% lower compared to 2021. Programs similar to MRB Club can help elevate and stabilize this number.

A line in a familiar song says, ‘our children are our future’, therefore, we should help their development through a safe and secure environment. Digital technology should not be a challenge but instead perceived as an opportunity. Internet-based resources are a cheap alternative, and can present stories in ways that printed publications cannot.

With programs similar to MRB Club and this new perspective, we hope to raise kids that are technology proficient like Carl and literature-inclined like Amy. (pia-ncr)

About the Author

Susan De Leon

Assistant Regional Head

National Capital Region

IO 3

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