It was just the beginning when the eyes of the Grade 2 boys twinkled with curiosity as they saw their teachers wearing Chinese costumes and holding pots. They were portraying the story, “The Empty Pot” by Demi, during the opening of the Literacy Month of Xavier School, San Juan held last October 7, 2013.
On that day, the excited chatter of the boys filled the Sports Center as Mrs. Clarisse Ednacot, the chairperson of the Grade School English Department, presented the specific activities for the whole month of October for each grade level. The goal of the activities was to promote love for reading and valuing of peace.
For the grade 2 boys, the event was also designed to introduce to the young readers various stories in different formats from different genres. It was also meant to create venues for cooperation, sportsmanship, and sharing.
One activity was the Pot of Reading contest. It challenged the boys to independently read as many English books as they could. This was also a test of their comprehension skills because after reading a book, the students would get seed-shaped sheets where they will write the title, author, the reason why they liked the book, and the lesson they learned from the story. By the end of the month, each section would have a Reading Whiz, the boy who filled out the most number of seeds. Also, the section with the most number of filled out seeds would be awarded as Reading Champs.
One lunch period, the grade 2 boys could not hide their surprise and delight when their teachers from the English Committee, Ms. Angela Agustin, Ms. Fiona Gali, and Ms. Jean Gonzales, showed up wearing clothes with matching colors and crayon heads to introduce to them the book, The Land of Many Colors. They were also invited to read other books through book talks by grade school teachers who were also wearing costumes to convince the boys to read.
During English periods and study halls, the class advisers also shared other stories in different formats like the “Land of Many Colors” in print, “The Lego Story” in video, and “A Day in the Market” using an ipad. The ipad session was definitely the favorite. It was both funny and endearing to see the boys nervously yet eagerly holding the ipads. Even days after that, they were still talking about it, reminiscing and wishing to experience it again.
The boys also wrote stories about peace and made posters promoting reading. It was a glorious moment for the class advisers to see how their boys were really into their tasks and how some boys were able to create stories and posters that exceeded expectations.
Then came October 25, 2013, the most awaited and talked about date by the boys and teachers alike. That was the day that turned the grade 2 classrooms and corridors into a magical place as story book characters came to life. A little Harry Potter was walking with a CR pass. The Avengers and the Justice League were posing together for a picture. Even Albert Einstein was chatting happily with Darth Vader and Spiderman. It was the Literacy Day and the teachers and the boys came in wearing costumes of their favorite characters.
The day officially started with story-telling from parents. Some came with costumes and props while others brought with them candies and giveaways. It was a memorable moment seeing most of the parents delivering their stories with so much infectious energy and joy.
Following the parade, the students had a book club meeting where they were given time to share about their favorite books to their group mates while also sharing and enjoying food. Ripples of laughter echoed through the corridors as evidence of how the boys were enjoying the activity.
After that, the boys lined up outside their classrooms to get ready for their parade to the central administration. The boys walked and smiled to cameras and graciously received the praises for their costumes.
Then they watched a short film about reading, Arthur’s Lost Library Book while also designing their bookmarks with their favorite books. The boys proudly showed and presented their bookmarks to their teachers and they shared their thoughts on making their bookmarks.
After that, the grade 2 boys then moved to the Lecture Hall for the closing program. It started with a storytelling of “Ang Batang Kambing, Ang Inang Kambing, at Ang Lobo” by the Learning Resource Center (LRC) staff. The boys were thrilled not only by the stage design, props and costumes, but more so because of the acting and voice over performances. The emotions the LRC staff needed to convey were so effectively expressed that when the wolf was at the young goat’s door, the boys were holding their breaths and some were even hiding behind the seats.
After holding their breath for the young goat’s life, they then held it for themselves as class numbers were drawn to complete the contestants for the Reading Quiz Bee. It was a quiz bee in which questions were based on the stories they have encountered. Question after question, the voices of the boys became louder and louder as they cheered for their classmates, each hoping that their section would win. In the end, 2E proved themselves best as they were awarded champions.
The awarding of winners immediately followed. The certificates of recognition awarded were for the Best Poster, Best Story, Best Bookmark, Best in Costume, and Reading Whiz for each section. Then the Reading Champs award was given to 2H while the Reading Quiz Bee Champion was given to 2E.
The faces of the boys glowed with anticipation as they waited if their names would be called. But that moment was a winning moment for everybody. The boys who did not win cheered and clapped heartily for their classmates who won. Those who won thought of their parents whom they said they were sure would be proud of them for achieving something.
The activities ended with a message from the Grade 2 Team Leader, Mrs. Joal Ria Orqueza. She thanked everyone for making the event possible and commended the boys for participating actively and with so much enthusiasm.
The month of October was the month for young readers to explore the world of reading in many different ways. As it reached its end, it is safe to believe that as the boys go home with joyful memories of this event’s adventures, they also carry a genuine love for reading within their hearts.