Tag Archives: ahiya

Developing Good Readers

“Ahiya, let’s play Jack en Poy to see who will read the book first!”

We were on our way to the local library to get the next installment to the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Both kids read the first three books (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass) and now, they wanted to borrow the remaining three (City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire).

My 8-year old is already planning on how to solve the problem of who will get first dibs in the event that there is only one copy available. They agreed that the hand game is the best way to settle the problem.

The library had two copies of Book#5, but only one of Book #4, and no Book#6. They checked out the three books, and just for good measure, included a couple of graphic novels and a book that was in the library’s suggested readings. It was a long weekend afterall.

By the time we got home, Jack en Poy was shelved and a coin toss was now the preferred method to settle their book dilemma. Jack en Poy is fun and entertaining, but there is a lot at stake and I wouldn’t hear the end of it if one suspected the other of peeking and changing the hand gesture at the last moment. So, I fully supported the switch.

I was commissioned to toss the quarter, catch it, and then flip it on my hand. Heads would mean my 10-year old son reads it first.

Unfortunately for my daughter, she lost the coin toss. But fortunately for her, she didn’t have to wait very long. Her ahiya reads fast and was able to give her the book by lunchtime. By dinnertime, they were in their rooms with their own copy of the next book.

These strategies worked for me in encouraging my children to read:

  1. Set a time during the day when everyone just readsIMG_3472
  2. Visit the library to borrow and read booksIMG_4818
  3. Use books as prizesIMG_4687
  4. Make books accessible even in the car (in this case, a restaurant)IMG_4817
  5. Have audiobooks for books that might be too difficult to readIMG_3242
  6. Include reading in your bedtime ritualIMG_4825

A Filipino Family

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I call all my older brothers and sisters ate (older sister) and kuya (older brother).  My parents really did not have any opinion about this, but we had an older au pair from Lipa who strongly believed that younger siblings should call older siblings ate and kuya out of respect.  We only needed her services for a short time, but I really listened to her.

I don’t think my parents cared with labels, or they would not have waited for the au pair to teach me to call my siblings ate and kuya. It seemed to me that what was more important to them was the love and respect that each of their children had for each other, regardless of birth order!  In our own household, we use something similar to ate and kuya.  My daughter calls her older brother ahia (Fookien for older brother).  My son calls his younger sister shobe (Fookien for younger sister).

Beyond the labels, I aspire for my children to grow up respecting and caring for each other and the family.  To start, we divide household chores equally between the two—folding laundry, putting away dishes, putting away toys, tidying up their bedroom, and a whole lot more.  It would be very easy to give in to the younger one’s request to let ahia do it because he is bigger, but we don’t.  Sometimes it would be simpler if the grown-ups did everything, but we don’t.  To me, being responsible for certain things in the house shows that each person respects and cares for the family.  In my opinion that show of respect is more heartfelt than simply calling someone kuya and ate.

I have to admit though that it is cute to hear my children call each other ahi (short for ahia) and shobes (short for shobe).  Especially if the tone used is exasperation bordering on rage. Like, “Ahiiiiyaaaaa, let me play with your green army soldiers!”

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