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#AReaderEveryDay Sorsogon: Meet Project ARAL, Pilar Reading Center

We’re running ARED for the fourth year, and our beneficiaries are Project ARAL of Calongay Elementary School and the Pilar Reading Center in Pilar, Sorsogon. They are in need of books for their storytelling and reading programs for kids aged four to 12. Get to know a bit of them below!

Project ARAL (Adopt Reading Acquire Learning)

Mother and principal Jessica Ascano leads Project ARAL in Calongay Elementary School. Through her initiative, the school achieved its zero non-reader goal in 2016—a year after its first implementation. They use read aloud sessions and close monitoring to track the pupils’ progress.

“It was most fulfilling as the result was the impact of collaborative efforts. Teachers, parent volunteers, school pupil government, club leaders, and even my own family committed to turning 52 non-readers into readers,” she shared.

According to her, the pupils cannot resist reading.

“Before the flag ceremony in the morning and after lunch, the children immediately return to school to visit the Butirik Mobile Lib of Project ARAL. The challenge is that we have a limited collection of books.”

Aside from her literacy advocacy, Ma’am Jess is involved in other community efforts, such as programs in farming and food production, and values and community-building.

Pilar Reading Center

Teacher Lowel Solayao shares the same advocacy: to raise readers out of the kids of Pilar. Inspired by his benefactor in college to pay it forward, he built the Pilar Reading Center in 2010 to help spread the love for reading. (Fun fact: PRC and Bookbed share the same birth year!)

“Reading is very important. In an area of depressed communities, this is very much needed,” he said. “Underprivileged children can get proper education and proper guidance through reading, and their dreams and aspirations may be realized.”

Apart from reading and storytelling programs, activities at the PRC include life skills workshops, such as in culinary arts and entrepreneurship.

“My favorite is when my passion and the needs of the community meet!” he shared. “I can’t forget the time when a regular PRC learner (a Grade 3 pupil) replicated PRC at home. She built a reading corner in her house! After her, three more pupils followed.

Another favorite memory of mine was when one of our reviewers topped the Regional Licensure exam. This led to six more batches. These motivate us even more to share, serve and shine for others.”


We’re accepting book donations for ARED Sorsogon until August 25, 2019. Donors may send their packages to a Quezon City address (contact us here to do so), or swing by the #BookbedMeets on August 17. The event will be held at Quriocity in Quezon City between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thank you for your support!


Check out Project ARAL here, and visit Pilar Reading Center here.
Special thanks to Quriocity.

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