The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Ugnayan ng Pahinungod held its second webinar for the Read Aloud series on 28 July 2021 at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

The resource speaker for the second Read Aloud was Assistant Professor Anna Liza M. Barcelona, a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines  Visayas (UP Visayas). She is a mother of three, and an advocate of Read Aloud strategy for more than 10 years. She teaches Theory and Applied Courses in English as Second Language and Literature in UP High School. She finished BA English Studies Major in Anglo-American Literature in UP Diliman and Master of Education English as Second Language in UP Visayas.  UPOU Pahinungod volunteer Genevieve Aguinaldo – Ipil served as host and moderator for the webinar.

Asst. Prof. Barcelona discussed the difference between read aloud and storytelling saying, “Read aloud and storytelling are almost the same. The difference is when we read aloud, we have the intention to teach.” Read Aloud is an instructional practice where teachers, parents, and caregivers read texts aloud to children. The reader incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions, and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery.

A read aloud infographic was presented, which provided the importance of reading aloud which are for:  brain development, knowledge, love of reading, bonding, literacy skills and language. Asst. Prof. Barcelona stressed that parents are the children’s first and most important teacher, “Education starts at home and reading for children starts at home,” she stated. Using the brain in various stages of activity as an example, Asst. Prof. Barcelona explained the effects of reading aloud to the brain saying, “The faster you read aloud, the harder your brain works.”

Reading aloud should be fun and it shouldn’t be difficult. Prof. Barcelona presented five  easy tips for reading aloud: (1) Pick a great book. She reminded that not all books are created for Read Aloud and the book the child will choose should interest the adult as well. At this time of pandemic, Asst. Prof. Barcelona advised parents to download digital read aloud books that are available online; (2) Remember you’re reading to a child, not a chair; (3) Involve the child;  (4) Add a soundtrack to make the reading more fun and exciting for the child; and  (5) It is okay to make mistakes. Asst. Barcelona reminded parents not to forget to enjoy the entire process.

In addition to the discussion, a video was played with the title “Choosing Books and Reading Aloud to Children” by Sarah Howard of the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Asst. Prof. Barcelona advised the importance of practice before reading aloud to the child. She added that the parent should not be worried but instead, enjoy the special time with the child, stressing the importance of learning for both child and parent as bonding time.

In terms of language, Asst. Prof. Barcelona emphasized that it is not necessary to stick to English books but it depends on which language the reader is comfortable with. She also stressed the importance of pronunciation because the child will keep it in mind. Instead of always watching television, Asst. Prof. Barcelona left a challenge to parents to read to their children and get them engaged in reading.

The second part of the program was a reading demo by Asst. Prof. Barcelona where she read the book entitled “Strega Nona” aloud. She advised parents to first let the child explore and touch the book, and introduce the book by showing the title. Most importantly, ask the child if he or she is ready to listen.

The discussion ended with the quote, “Reading aloud is an investment in your child’s future.” Asst. Prof. Barcelona encouraged parents to put their gadgets aside while reading. She also stressed the importance of creating memories with the child through reading because they are precious and long-lasting memories a child will bring as they grow up.

The Read Aloud Webinar series discussed the different techniques and strategies that are used in reading books for children and provided a platform for discussion of experiences.The first webinar was held on 22 July 2021 which focused on helping teachers. This second webinar aimed to teach parents and caregivers the importance and the science of reading aloud to children.

The Read Aloud Webinar Series was streamed through the UPOU Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Facebook Page. A replay of the Read Aloud Webinar 2 is accessible on this link.

Written by Gian Macatangay and Phoebe Apostol

Edited by Joane V. Serrano and Anna Cañas-Llamas