Briefer and Suggested Readings
Araw ng Pagbasa was inspired by the ideals of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who deeply believed that there is great worth in reading. Through reading, Senator Ninoy found a source of hope and empowerment. His many years in solitary confinement, during the Martial Law years, were spent reading. His constant companions were his Bible, books and letters from home which gave him the strength and hope to endure even the darkest of days.
What is Araw ng Pagbasa?
Araw ng Pagbasa celebrates the birth anniversary of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was born on 27 November 1932. It is an annual reading advocacy program that began in 2008 as a district initiative of Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal when he was a Councilor of the Third District of Quezon City. It developed into a citywide campaign in 2009 through Quezon City Resolution No. 332-2009.
Every year, public elementary schools and high schools in Quezon City simultaneously held storytelling sessions about historical personalities and different aspects of Filipino culture and heritage. Daycare centers, private schools, hospitals, communities and offices in the city also participated in this event. In 2011, the Department of Education included the observance of Araw ng Pagbasa as a culminating activity of National Reading Month which falls in the month of November. This began the cascading of the advocacy nation-wide. In May 2013, President Aquino signed Republic Act 10556 or the “Araw ng Pag(b)asa Act”. In such a short span of time, it has grown from a district wide advocacy into a nationwide program. Anyone who is committed to the love of reading and the spread of hope for our country can turn Araw ng Pagbasa into a relevant and effective movement.
Why do we celebrate Araw ng Pagbasa on the birthday of Ninoy Aquino?
Ninoy Aquino is a modern day hero whose fateful homecoming had shaped our nation’s history. Each time stories of hope are read aloud to our children, they are reminded of their own capacity to achieve great things through hard work and optimism. With Ninoy as inspiration, Araw ng Pagbasa is as much about reading as it is about hope. “Hindi lang buhay ang kanyang ibinigay, kundi pag-asa.”
What is the goal of Araw ng Pagbasa?
Studies show that many children skip school due to lack of personal interest. According to the United Nations Development Programme, non-conventional approaches are necessary to improve access to primary education. Our own Constitution encourages non-formal approaches to learning. Araw ng Pagbasa is a practical and creative tool to improve literacy, designed to especially benefit those who have minimal access to traditional learning methods. It aims to motivate reading among our children, communities, educators, and leaders and make reading a fun and shared physical experience. By promoting reading, especially on topics involving Filipino heroes and our heritage, we are building the foundations for learning and love of country.
How do we celebrate Araw ng Pagbasa?
Araw ng Pagbasa is primarily a call for every child to be read to by an adult. Thus, storytelling sessions are simultaneously held, whether in Filipino, English, or a local dialect. Nationwide, schools, day-care centers, barangays, libraries, hospitals, and government and private offices are called on to conduct reading and literacy activities in honor of Sen. Ninoy and other Filipino heroes. Various activities such as outdoor storytelling sessions, reading list preparation, story tellers’ training, hospital and jail visits, and puppet shows may also be done.
In 2012 President Benigno S. Aquino III led the storytelling session in Quezon City by reading a short story entitled, “Halu-halo Espesyal” by Yvette Fernandez to 30 Grade 5 students of Teodoro Alonzo Elementary School. President Aquino’s participation surely brought inspiration to our youth and etched a deeper impression to the message: “Nasa Pagbasa ang Pag-asa.” Other guest readers of Araw ng Pag(b)asa were: Sec. Armin Luistro in 2011, Rep. Leni Robredo (2013), ABS-CBN and GMA 7 personalities (2014).
Araw ng Pag(b)asa.
Suggested Reading List:
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Lola, o Kung Bakit Matatag ang mga Pinay by Rene O. Villanueva - A violent storm threatens an old town and an old grandmother attempts to save everybody. How will she do this? This folktale is not so much about Lola’s extraordinary hair as it is about the Filipina’s extraordinary strength of character. (Winner, National Book Award, Children’s Literature, 2001)
Ang Itim na Kuting by Natasha Vizcarra - Ignacia is a black kitten! Oh, how she scares everybody away! They say bad things happen because of her. This makes Ignacia feel bad and she sets out to prove that there are many good things a cat like her can do. (Grand Prize, PBBY Salanga Writer’s Prize, 1996)
Ang Mabait na Kalabaw by Virgilio Almario - A story about a carabao whose goodness is exemplary.
Halu-halo Espesyal by Yvette Fernandez - A story about a sick child who remembers her Lola and the magic she weaves in her kitchen.
When Color Came To Town by Susan dela Rosa Aragon - A story of how the town of Alikabok transforms itself.
Ang Mahiwagang Pana by Bolet Banal – This is a story inspired by the heroism of the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr.
Araw sa Palengke by May Tobias-Papa – A story about a little girl’s trips to the market. (Winner – 2010 National Children’s Book Awards)
Ang Bisikleta ni Monmon by Rebecca Añonuevo – While his neighbors are sporting brand new bikes, Monmon is stuck with his old and dilapidated one. Yet Monmon remembers all the good times he and his bike shared and suddenly his bike does not seem that old and ratty anymore. (1997 PBBY-Salanga Prize, Honorable Mention)
Ang Lihim ni Lea by Augie Rivera – Lea has a special power. At home, she can summon this easily. In school though, she bumps her head and falls over. What could be her power? At where does it come from? Do you know Lea’s secret? (2008 Gintong Aklat Finalist for Best Children’s Book)
Ninoy, Cory and Noynoy by Yvette Fernandez – This is the story of how Ninoy and Cory Aquino taught their son, their daughters, and the rest of the country of dreaming big, fighting hard, and standing up for what they believe in. (Dream Big Books of Summit Media)
Simply Jessie by Yvette Fernandez – This is a story of how Jesse Robredo’s honesty and integrity inspired millions of people to live better lives themselves. (Dream Big Books of Summit Media)
Big John by Yvette Fernandez – This is a story of how a young boy learned the value of dreaming big, working hard, and never giving up. (Dream Big Books of Summit Media)
Princess Lea by Yvette Fernandez – This is the story of how a young girl from Manila dreamed big, worked hard, sang her heart out, and became an international superstar. (Dream Big Books of Summit Media)
Nanay Coring by Yvette Fernandez – This is a story of how a young girl with no money learned to work hard, to survive the bad times, to live and to love and to never stop dreaming. (Dream Big Books of Summit Media)
Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar by Augie Rivera - A story of a boy who tries to find out about what his older brother does during “errands.”
The most famous undelivered speech in Philippine History by Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. - The speech that the late Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. had reportedly planned on reading before his supporters on the day of his fateful homecoming.