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How Judy Ann, Ryan Built Their Kids' Reading Habit: 'Hindi Mo Kailangang Pilitin'
  • As parents of three kids in different age groups - Yohan, 18; Lucho, 12; and Luna, 7 - most of us would consider that Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos are already "pro" parents. However, they admit that they also started by not knowing everything and figuring things out along the way. 

    The celebrity couple is proud to have raised their kids to love reading, but they started with the very simple way that most of us already know.

    READ ALSO: Judy Ann, Ryan Agoncillo Reveal The 'Priceless' Way That Keeps Them Connected To Their Kids

    How to build a habit of reading with your child

    "We started by reading to them before they sleep, that's the usual. We did it with Yohan, Lucho, and Luna. Hanggang ngayon, we still do. They've taken on a habit of reading," Ryan said during the McDonald's Happy Meal O'Clock livestream last March 16 held at McDo UN Del Pilar.

    "Hindi mo kailangang babaan ng kamay to tell them that you have to read the book kasi they also love to read." Judy Ann Santos Agoncillo

    By doing this every night, Juday said, it's become easier for them to explore other genres of books. "Hindi mo kailangang babaan ng kamay to tell them that you have to read the book kasi they also love to read."

    Although they did the same trick to cultivate the love of reading to their kids, they revealed that their kids, as unique as they are, ended up becoming interested in different genres.

    "Yohan started reading yung mga anime, Japanese comic books. Lucho started out with [The Adventures of] Tintin, then he switched to graphic novels. Luna loves fairy tales, and yung Treetop [Twins] Adventures." Ryan was referring to the Happy Meal books, Treetop Twins Adventures series, that McDonald's launched in 2020. These books were written by Cressida Cowell.


    Reading will not only widen your child's vocabulary, but also their interest in exploring hard topics like science, math, and sports.

    Need for students to get interested in science, math

    A recent study shows that elementary students did not pass the first Philippine Assessment for Learning Loss Solutions (PALLS). The study was conducted by the University of San Carlos (USC) and Thames International School among a total of 3,600 private school students from Grades 1 to 12.

    The study was done to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted learning among students.

    While the passing rate set by Department of Education was 60 percent, the students involved in the study got an average test score of 54.1 percent in science, and only 47.5 percent in math, according to an Inquirer report.

    While the study recommended several solutions including remedial classes, teacher upskilling, and technological support, parents have an important role to play in getting their kids to get interested in science, math, and other areas.

    Three ways to get your child interested in science, sports 

    1. Provide not just physical but also emotional and mental support

    Judy Ann believes it's easy for parents to be physically present in their children's games or academics, but what other parents might neglect is helping their kids process their feelings or experiences, which is more important.

    "The passion and the hobbies pagdating sa mga anak namin, we allow them to decide. When it comes to dealing with issues na nangyari on that day or something that came up na kailangan niyo pag usapan, we talk to them, we make it a point na kinocommunicate namin ano yung napapansin namin and hindi naman kasi sila mahirap kausap, when they feel something off," she said.

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    2. Expose them to books that will widen their knowledge

    With the Little People, Big Dreams books you can get with every McDonald's Happy Meal you order via McDelivery, Ryan said reading these to your kids can give them a glimpse of what other professions are there, and it's powerful. "Binibigyan mo sila ng idea what else can you do in this lifetime. It's something you can introduce an idea for them to explore," he said. 

    "Just the introduction of an idea, that's one of the most precious things that you can take from a book. Kasi hindi mo sila pinipilit." Ryan Agoncillo

    He explained, "For example, the book "I Can Be A Sports Champion." My son is not so much into motorsports, but if I can introduce Ayrton Senna to them, maybe he'll get curious enough to get on Google or YouTube to learn more about it."

    Get any of these I Can Dream Big series books when you order a Happy Meal via McDelivery

    He puts it firmly, "Just the introduction of an idea, that's one of the most precious things that you can take from a book. Kasi hindi mo sila pinipilit."


    "Sometimes our kids can tune out if you introduce something that only daddy or mommy is interested in, but if they knew that something out there, that just might lead to them to discover more of the idea you introduced," he added.

    3. Provide a safe space where they can talk to you about their dreams

    Juday pointed out, as kids, it's normal that their hobbies and passions change. "Yohan started swimming at about 8 or 7. Lucho started football about 5. Luna started arts, wow pretty young, as long as she could hold a pencil," Ryan shared.

    "Every dinner time, we talk about what they want to be when they grow up."

    However, Juday shared that what they consistently do is provide a space where they can talk about their big dreams. 

    "Every dinner time, we talk about what they want to be when they grow up. It's a topic na ang sarap balik-balikan kasi consistent sila sa mga gusto nilang mangyari. Lucho wanted to be a marine biologist, Yohan wanted to be a psychologist, and Luna wanted to be a pilot."

    They make sure they do this one thing to make this discussion work. "It's nice also to talk to your kids na walang phones sa table, kahit kami hangga't maari kung pwedeng walang telepono habang nagdidinner kami para yung attention namin nasa mga anak namin, sila din, hindi sila mag-aalangan na di ako magsasalita kasi si mommy may katext."

    "When it's dinner time, respect your meal and respect your time with your family," Juday emphasized.

    Check out this open library in Taguig where your children could find interested in reading.

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