Little books for early readers

On May 17, 2011, Ms. Mailin Locsin (second from left in photo at left), Head of School of Beacon Academy in Biñan, Laguna, posted this comment:

Beacon Academy is a secondary school in Biñan, Laguna. As part of a community and service project, we initiated the creation of early readers by our students. These little books are written in Filipino and then translated into various Filipino languages. We have made them available online so that schools that need early literacy books can download them and print them. We also ask teachers to translate them into their various mother tongues. We will continue uploading titles and translations as they come in. Access the site at

Best way to get in is:

a. Go to Beacon Academy Mail –
b. Username – guest
c. Password – beaconacademy
d. Go to “SITES”

Many thanks.

[I recommend you use this link,, username=guest, password=beaconacademy.]

The material is intended for early readers, most probably those getting into kindergarten. (Let’s hope that Senate Bill No. 2700, which prescribes the child’s mother tongue as medium of instruction for pre-school/kindergarten, gets enacted soon.)

Now, about the “early reader” materials developed by Beacon Academy: I find the quality of the materials lacking the intellectual rigor that’s needed to challenge our early readers. Aside from that, the materials appear to have been developed in haste as there are a few misspellings, e.g., “Wheee” ingon pa ni Deigo in the Cebuano translation of “Ang Paglalakbay ni Diego”, or “Magandang gabi,”
sabi niya s alimango and Lumangoy si Diego hangang makarating sa baybaying-dagat in the Filipino version. [Deigo, s, and hangang are misspelled.]. Well, well, the Ilocano version of Lila (username=guest, password=beaconacademy) is a complete comedy of errors, to wit:

Filipino: Si Lila ay masaya. Sabi ng nanay niya, magkakaroon na siya ng bunsong kapatid.
Ilocano: Syak Lila naragsak. Kuna ni inang na adda to buridak nan. [English: I, Lila, am happy. Mother says she’ll have her last born.]
Suggested Ilocano translation:
Naragsak ni Lila. Imbaga ni nanangna a maaddaanton daytoy iti adi na. [English: Lila is happy. Her mother told her she’d have a younger sibling.]

Filipino: Si Lila ay masaya. Ang ganda-ganda ng itlog na kapatid niya!
Ilocano: Syak Lila naragsak. Napintas ti itlog dyay kabsat na! [English: I, Lila, am happy. Her sibling’s egg is beautiful.]
Suggested Ilocano translation:
Naragsak ni Lila. Nakapinpintas ti itlog a kabsatna! [English: Lila is happy. The egg that’s her sibling-to-be is so beautiful.]
[NOTE: “Her sibling’s egg” and the “egg that’s her sibling-to-be” are two different characters.]

Filipino: Si Lila ay masaya. Naiisip niya kung anong saya ang paglipad kasama ang kapatid niya.
Ilocano: Syak Lila naragsak. Napanunot na naragsak nga agtayab kadwana dtay kabsat na. [English: I, Lila, am happy. She thought she’d be happy to fly with her sibling.]
Suggested Ilocano translation:
Naragsak ni Lila. Immapay iti arapaapna no kasano a kinaragsak ti tumayab a kaduana ti kabsatna. [English: Lila is happy. She thought how happy she’d be to fly with her sibling.]

Filipino: Ayan na, lumabas na ang kapatid niya! Dino ang pangalan niya.
Ilocano: Addatan, rim mwar dyay kabsat na. Dino ti nagan na. [English: There it is, her sibling came out (was born). Dino is its name.]
Suggested Ilocano translation:
Addaytan, naipasngayen ti kabsatna. Dino ti nagan na. [English: There it is, her sibling was born. Dino is its name.]

Filipino: Pero may mali. Bakit ganyan ang pakpak niya?
Ilocano: Ngom saan nga, agpay so apay takastati payak na? [English: But it’s not true. Why are its wings like that?]
Suggested Ilocano translation:
Ngem adda di umno. Apay kasta ti payakna? [But there’s something wrong. Why are its wings like that?]

Filipino: Si Lila ay malungkot. Paano sila lilipad nang magkasama?
Ilocano: Syak Lila naliday. Kasatno nga agtayab nga adda kadwana? [English: I, Lila, am sad. How to fly together?]
Suggested Ilocano translation: Naliday ni Lila. Kasano danto a tumayab nga agkadua? [English: Lila is sad. How are they going to fly together?]

Filipino: Aha! May naisip si Lila!
Ilocano: Aha! Adda napanunot ni Lila! [English: Aha! Lila thought of something!]
Suggested Ilocano translation: Aha! Adda napanunot ni Lila! (Here, the Ilocano translation is correct.) [English: Aha! Lila thought of something!]

Filipino: Nakakalipad na silang magkasama!
Ilocano: Ngtayab da nga agkadwa! [English: They flew together!]
Suggested Ilocano translation: Makatayab da nga agkadua. [English: They can fly together!]

If Aling Mila, who translated the Filipino version of Lila into Ilocano, were to visit Ilocandia, I’m not sure if she’d be tarred and feathered but she would certainly be charged with sedition because her translation, if made public, would incite Ilocanos to rebel against the authorities!

Quite frankly, there’s a world of references and examples on how to develop similar educational material. For instance, click on the letter “K” and browse for “K-12”, “kid” or “kindergarten apps” under the “Education” category of the App Store of the iTunes section of Apple’s website, and voilà you find so many apps for the iPhone, iPad, podcasts and podcast episodes — some of them for free. Of course, there’s also a wealth of android kindergarten apps. The following is an excellent example of an app from Disney:


Since a lot of the apps have samples/demos and are accompanied with individual instructions on how they function for the young learner, I would suppose those who are serious about developing the little books for our early readers (for environments where the smartphones, tablets, laptops or PCs are not in use yet) — especially for MLE use — could not afford to overlook these digital learning models already being used. If we can avoid wasting time and resources on reinventing the wheel, by all means let’s do so and we should be closer to being ready when Senate Bill No. 2700 becomes law or when DepEd Order No. 74 s.2009 gets implemented.

13 thoughts on “Little books for early readers

  1. great site. a big help to those developing local reading materials-like me. hope to see more books. I downloaded and printed Ang paglalakbay ni Diego and Lila.

    Need help!!!
    Is there any way to have a clear (HD if possible) video of Howie Severino’s documentary “Don’t English me”. I downloaded it from u tube but not clear.

    • Hope you also will look into the other resources I mentioned in the second to the last paragraph of my post (iTunes section of Apple’s website, android kindergarten apps). Most of them take into consideration some pedagogical design to teach and at the same time hold the attention of the young readers. You don’t have to actually copy them but I think that you could design the reading/learning materials around them.

      About Howie Severino’s documentary, I did have a post (Don’t English Me) here. If I were you, I wouldn’t give much thought about the documentary — it had the effect of someone thumbing his nose at those who have difficulty speaking in English grammatically. Tell you what, I’ve lived almost 40 years in these United States and I’ve noticed that, in spite of all the education one gets from school, the media, etc., over here, there is a segment of the population that does not speak English, their native language, grammatically. If it is any consolation to you, even the educated have occasional grammatical flaws in their everyday conversation, or even on TV broadcasts, etc.

      I, personally, learned a bit of English in school but I learn (I still do) much of whatever meager English skills I have through reading. I have my own share of grammatical errors, but who does not? No one is grammatically perfect — the point is in trying to minimize the grammatical errors. Now, if you’re on a crusade to teach English effectively, you’re in luck because there’s a glut of FREE online materials designed to teach English. You can start with some of the freebies I listed in my website, (check the menu bar).

      • You’re right sir Joe. I’m in a crusade- of selling the idea of teaching using the mother tongue. And I found Howie Severino’s docu a great help. My fellow teachers sound convinced by the 3rd segment that featured Lubuagan. I’m hoping for a positive response from our university and we hope we could start implementing MTBMLE by next year. For now, we’ve started making big books in the vernacular – Daraga Bicol.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Manong.

    Daytoy tay kunkunada a saan a nagtugma ti gandat ken kabaelan. Nasayaat ti gandat, there’s no question about that, ngem adu ti pagkurangan iti kabaelan.

    It clearly shows that there are instances that we need the help of others (e.g., subject mater experts or SME) in order to come up with quality products.

    In the MTB-MLE seminar I attended last April (with the Dekkers and the Malones) and other forerunners of MLE, it became apparent (to me at least) nga ammo dagiti mangisuro ti kasapulan dagiti ubbingda, kabaelanda met ti agaramid kadagitoy, ngem they still need the help of others (editors, writers) tapno agbalin a nasayaat ti kalidad dagiti putarenda a materials.

    This is not to question ti kabaelan dagiti mangisuro. This is just to acknowledge the fact a saanda a na-train to teach and create in the mother tongue — and hence, kasapulanda ti tulong.

      • In a way, haha. Isuda ti nang-handle diay seminar/workshop. It’s for teachers ken acad book publishers, actually. Ngem inguyodnak ni Dr. Nolasco.

        Adda dagidiay parts a nagaramid kami iti reading materials. The teacher-participants were great… ngem uray isuda aminado da a marigatanda nga agsurat iti mother-tongue. 🙂

    • Tulong? If one is resourceful enough, help is just a click away. And I won’t mind repeating it here: those designing MLE learning materials should check the available (online) pedagogically designed models (not all of them may so conform with the appropriate pedagogy, but as teachers, they should be able to identify the good ones that they could emulate or pattern whatever learning materials they’re trying to create from). To repeat, here’s a couple of nice places to start for researching pre-school or kindergarten learning materials:

      iTunes section of Apple’s website
      android kindergarten apps

      This is by no means an exhaustive list.

    • Joe! Comment ça va?

      Bon, I think I’ve mentioned this thing once in one of our discusssions before. Sika wenno tay kunkunak…

      Ngem, pedagogically, for kinder-kids, kasapulan kadi a talaga a MANGItranslateda iti trabaho dagiti dadduma?

      We have a lot of good Ilokano authors. DE will just have to commission them….

  3. What I suggest at this stage is for DepEd to assemble the best qualified subject matter experts for each MLE course and for each language group (let’s work on the major regional languages first, e.g., Bicol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon [Ilonggo], Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Waray, etc., and expand to the others later) to develop the MLE learning materials. Once the materials are developed, they then should be field tested to give all teachers involved the opportunity to critique same and to assess their effectivity in light of MLE goals. The MLE learning materials are then modified accordingly and then deployed. Their modification with the intent of improving them should be a continuing process especially in response to the changing paradigms and tools of delivering learning. I think the use of these talent pools of subject matter experts to develop MLE learning materials is superior to letting every which one develop his own MLE learning materials; it should be even more cost-effective.

  4. In the literature and social studies area, the subject matter experts for each language should develop materials that are unique to the culture of those who speak the language. However, in the math, science and foreign language (such as English and Filipino to the non-Tagalogs) areas, the subjects covered are not unique to any particular language, hence, the need to translate model courses into the various languages. Of course, it goes without saying that these model courses will, on a continuing basis, be field tested and assessed periodically for their effectivity. They’d have to be updated and improved continually in response to changing needs.

  5. One of the reasons I have suggested taking a look at those educational apps developed for the iPhone, iPad and other smart or android devices is that there’s quite a number of them for almost every conceivable subject — and they keep developing more — and some have been rated. This should give our own subject matter experts an inkling as to what type of learning material or pedagogy works and which does not. Another reason to consider these apps is that they are mostly developed for smart mobile wireless devices which are becoming more and more affordable and ubiquitous. Our young learners have by now become familiar with the cell phone. Moving up to a smartphone or a tablet which opens for them a world of educational apps would almost be seamless. It’s inevitable.

    • Hmmmm, I like the idea of those I-thingies. But then, how about those kids in Sacritan, Pinili? Baka no ti ammoda (pay) laeng a cellphone is the good old Nokia-3210 hehehe!

      How about considering local/indigenous materials to start with? Those kids with runny-noses will understand better no agusar dagiti teachers iti kawayan or they talk about (the story of) kawayan. And later on, once they’ve mastered their mother tongue, will start learning more serious things thru these new gadgets.

      One of the real problems for now, I guess, ken kas nakunamon, ket ti kinakurang ti sangsangkamaysa a methodology and pedagogically correct a suroten dagiti mangisuro in order to be effective.

      Let me ask, ayannan ti nagpatinggaan ti DepEd for their quest for a serious teaching method para iti MLE? So far, all I’ve seen are position papers, speeches etc, atbp, kdpy…. hehehe!

      No adda nadalapusmon lakay, pakibinglay mo man ketdi la…

  6. I have been asking the same questions as you have. You know what, for something so important that’s intended to bring about an ocean change on learning paradigms on a national scale, the DepEd website appears to be holding any MLE initiative close to its vest — the website does not have a dedicated section on MLE. One has to search the DepEd orders, memorandums, updates, etc. For 2011, the specific documents that mention the use of the indigenous language or MLE are: (a) DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2011 which is “An Amendment to DepEd Order No. 51 s.2004 (Standard Curriculum of Elementary Public Schools and Private Madaris); (b) DepEd Order No. 18 s. 2011 (GUIDELINES ON THE CONDUCT OF MOTHER TONGUE-BASED MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION TRAINING); (c) DepEd Advisory No. 241 s. 2011 calls for a series of national seminars on mother tongue-based multilingual education on July 29-31, 2011 in Baguio City, Aug. 26-28, 2011 in Tacloban City, Oct. 28-30, 2011 in Iloilo City, and Dec. 16-18, 2011 in Dipolog City. I had trouble looking for details on DepEd’s “National Kindergarten Curriculum Guide.” In spite of DepEd Order No. 74 s. 2009’s requirement to start MLE in pre-school, DepEd Advisory No. 191 s. 2011 [which orders a series of national serminars-workshops on pre-school or kindergarten education starting on June 1-3, 2011 in Tagaytay City, July 20 to Aug. 1, 2011 in Davao City, Aug. 20-22, 2011 in Caoayan, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and July 16-18, 2011 in Baguio City] does not mention a thing about MLE in the training modules.

    It’s probably a good idea to ask Dr. Rosalina J. Villaneza, DepEd’s MTB­-MLE National Coordinator at telephone no.: (062) 633-7202 and mobile phone no.: 0916-678-1626.

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