Today, I’ll be sharing top reasons why you need to read Filipino literature to your children. A little something about myself is that I advocate for the Philippines. I love to promote everything local. From movies, music, products, and even literature. In becoming more involved in reading and storytelling, I realize that Philippine literature is not as famous as international books here in our country. Also, having been able to work for The Learning Library, we have a lot of students who are not fluent in our own language both in speaking and reading, more so writing.
This is why as a teacher and a parent, I feel that there is a need to expose our children to Filipino literature as early as we can. There are so many benefits of reading Filipino literature to children and even adults. I have listed some of them here:
One of the best ways to introduce our culture and community to our children is through literature. Filipino literature depicts our very own stories and people that they mostly encounter in the community. Using stories and literature it becomes easier for children to acquaint themselves with our own culture. Sadly, many children nowadays are exposed to foreign literature. This exposure somehow influences them on a different culture from ours. Likewise, the availability of international books has somehow decrease children’s interest in our local literature. Reading Filipino literature makes readers aware and knowledgeable about one’s culture thus establishing a deeper appreciation to it. The more they appreciate their own culture the easier it is for them to anchor their citizenship as Filipinos.
Many Filipino children, ironically, needs help with speaking and understanding our language. Given that they are more exposed to the English language thru books, videos, internet, etc., our Filipino language has taken a backseat in their daily conversations. This is true for some students that I have who really have a hard time in their Filipino subjects. Unfortunately, some if not a lot of children who do not speak or understand the language does not appreciate the language. Thus, they prefer to speak and read a language that they understand best than our very own language. Reading Filipino literature to our children will make them appreciate the richness of our language. It can help them appreciate how sweet and wonderful it is to express oneself in our own dialect or language. It is amazing how our country has 8 major dialects each one contributing to the country’s identity.
Being so open and accepting to other cultures and influences, I often wonder what or who we really are as Filipinos. I sometimes observe how Filipinos perceive ourselves as very lowly compared to other nations. Some people would not admit to watching Filipino movies or listening to OPM as if it was a crime. This also goes with Filipino literature, we find ourselves more inclined to read international books than Filipino books. I noticed that with our collection of books, as we have more foreign books than local ones. If this is true in our household, I am sure it can be also true for most Filipino families. This may affect how we see ourselves as Filipinos and how we regard our citizenship. Thus, it is important that we start reading Filipino literature to our children as young as they are so they would see WHO we are as a Filipino. Stories not only show our identity but also our values. The values that we pride ourselves of being Filipinos. Thru it, we plant the seeds of citizenship in them as early as we can.
There are words that do not have a direct translation of the English language. This means that its meaning can only be fully understood in our own language. Likewise, our values as Filipinos usually have a different meaning to that of the other countries. In as much as we would want to translate Filipino values to the English language, it does not fully explain its meaning. This is why as we read more Filipino literature to our children, the more that they can also imbibe values that are innately ours. Filipino literature shows love for family, respect for elders, and care for the environment.
In order to produce active citizens in our country, we have to let them know what is happening. Shielding them from the realities of the country will make them vulnerable to be angry. Angry with the government, angry with their fellow Filipinos, and even angry to their own country. Stories written by Filipino authors give its readers the reality of the situation. The more we understand our issues, the more we can take action. This is true for our children. The way to make them involve is to inform them. It is thru reading that we empower them with knowledge, and the ability to make a change.
As we modernize and compete globally, there are times that we compromise our own language and identity as Filipinos. Children nowadays are easily exposed to foreign movies, cartoons, and literature. This abundance places our Filipino movies, cartoons, and literature at the backseat. Although it is amazing to hear little children speaking fluently in English, the decline of children fluent in our own language is alarming. We should realize that the language is not the only one declining but more so the values of our nation. One way of keeping our country’s identity, history, culture, and values is thru the use of the language, and literature.
I’m not sure if you would agree with my points but I realized that the simplest things make the greatest impact. If we want a country of people who cares and who takes action, then we as parents need to consider all these as well. We can start with one Filipino book. Join Pinoy Kids Read Pinoy Books in Facebook Page for discussion and sharing of Filipino literature for your children.