Boosting Reading Comprehension for Filipino Children with Native Language Books

Filipino Children Native Language Books
Stories in Cebuano, Ilocano, Bikolano, Hiligaynon, and Maranao Are Just One App Away through the Globe and Nabu partnership. Photo from Globe.

Reading is a crucial skill in today’s fast-paced world, and one of the best ways to encourage and improve comprehension is by providing books in languages that young readers can understand.

To motivate more Filipinos to read and comprehend with ease, the free-to-download tech-publishing app NABU: Multilingual Kids Books has released its first collection of regional language books for Filipino learners from various backgrounds.

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Globe, the leading telecommunications company in the Philippines, has partnered with NABU, a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating poverty through increased literacy and free access to mother tongue books via their proprietary app.

Both organizations agree that children’s confidence grows when they can read in their local language first, leading to better comprehension. As a result, literacy levels rise, allowing children to develop their learning skills and achieve their full potential.

However, a lack of local language books at the early grade levels often results in children leaving school without the ability to read, making them vulnerable to social and economic exploitation.

Since NABU’s launch in the Philippines last October, the app has added 50 regional language titles, including stories written in Cebuano, Ilocano, Bikolano, Hiligaynon, and Maranao, illustrated by local Filipino artists. These complement the 100+ original stories developed by NABU, provided to children across the Philippines in partnership with Globe and the E. Zobel Foundation.

Among the titles available for free download on Android and iOS devices are:

  • Magturugang Habang Buhay (Brothers for Life) (Bicolano)
  • So Alongan Ago So Olan (The Sun and the Moon)(Maranao)
  • Layo ang Gakaabtan sa Gugma (Love Travels Further)(Cebuano)
  • Mas Maayo kun Updanay ang Tanan (Better Together) (Hiligaynon)
  • Kabaelak Nga Aramiden (Dare to Try) (Ilokano)

Tanyella Allison, CEO of NABU, expressed her hope that the app and its content would inspire children to read. “We are honored to welcome all Filipinos on our global journey to create a culture of reading, and hope that our app and content will inspire children to get back into the habit of reading.”

Yoly Crisanto, Globe Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer, said, “We believe that everyone should have access to age-appropriate, culturally relevant, and accurate reading materials in their own language. This is an important step towards making literacy more accessible for everyone with the help of digital platforms such as NABU.”

NABU Philippines’ Country Manager Mauro Daez added: “With the release of our regional bilingual books, we want to bring back the fun, curiosity and creativity gained from reading to the major regions of the country. Whilst simultaneously, having parents and teachers discover new stories that can equally get them excited to read alongside the children. With hundreds of languages being spoken in the Philippines, this is our start to providing reading resources to those that may not be able to afford them.”

This collaboration aligns with Globe’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG No. 4 on quality education and UN SDG No. 17 on the value of partnerships in achieving sustainable development targets.

Globe remains a staunch advocate of literacy and digital skills with initiatives like the Globe eLibrary mobile app and website, which offer hundreds of classic English titles, age-appropriate storybooks, eLearning videos, and other resource materials.

To find these NABU books, go to

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