To help enhance distance learning in the new normal, PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), has partnered with BásaBookstore to donate books and LearnSmart e-Storytelling videos for students in remote communities.
The Smart-backed activity is donating more than 3,000 books to over 200 teachers in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos and Cagayan.
The storytelling fleet is also providing psychosocial support and a sense of normalcy through reading.
BásaBookstore, a traveling bookstore and social enterprise, is running the BasaVan Caravan from 27 January to 4 February in celebration of World Read Aloud Day.
“We feel strongly that reading is a powerful way not just to educate, but also to help people overcome negative feelings and challenges. Through the BasaVan project and the materials that we will be handing over to the teachers, we hope that the students will be able to continue learning and that no one will be left behind in experiencing the power of reading and access to education,” said Smart AVP for community partnerships Stephanie V. Orlino.
“Before the lockdown, we had already sold and donated books to over 20 different cities through our BásaVan project. We hope that, through the gift of reading, we will be able to help children by providing access to leisure and learning,” said BásaBookstore founder Rey Bufi.
BasaBookstore previously partnered with Smart for its LearnSmart e-Storytelling Series in 2020. Launched in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and The Storytelling Project, the episodes aired live every 8:30 p.m. on the Smart Communities Facebook page, as Smart’s way of bringing the magic of stories into people’s home through technology.
Information embedded in the context of a story is said to be more easily remembered. Storytelling is thus an effective way of teaching a lesson or getting a message across.
Stories aim to teach kids about their own uniqueness, and important values such as acceptance, inclusivity, courage and obedience.
“Our first few stories were geared towards understanding our current situation under the COVID-19 pandemic, continued with a story that specifically helped kids understand what to do, and followed up by a story of gratitude to our frontliners,” said Bufi.
Before the end of 2020, the LearnSmart e-Storytelling Series was also rereleased as free-to-download supplemental learning materials for virtual classes. All 31 e-Storytelling episodes were aligned with the DepEd’s Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELC) and were enhanced to include Filipino Sign Language translation. Each story concludes with an in-depth analysis by a child psychologist.
Along with the books to be donated via the BasaVan Caravan, Smart will also turn over a compilation of its e-Storytelling videos, as well as Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials on child’s rights produced by the Council for the Welfare of Children.