Wednesday 26 June 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Parul Gupta and Meeta W Sengupta

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Parul Gupta and Meeta W Sengupta shared their experience on the Words and More blog. Parul is a former journalist, researcher (Economics) and editor. She currently writes stories, for both children and adults, and conducts English Language and Writing Skill workshops for youngsters. She is co-founder of Words and More (kids) (www.wordsandmorekids.wordpress.com) a free website where youngsters with a talent for words are given editorial support and published online.

The Words and More story-cum-activity session as Pratham Books Champions for the International Literacy Day endeavour was held at the SIWS Center (Saying it With Stories) in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.Words and More being committed to encouraging and shaping young minds through reading and writing stories and helping them develop their creative potential, the opportunities to be part of the Pratham Books drive are right up our street.

Since we had kept the event an open one, we were hoping to have at least a couple of children who were not regular members — and sure enough, four children turned up, attracted by the event posted on Facebook. With a round dozen eager participants, the session started with a bang.

The group was a motely one, with children ranging from 4 to 12 years in age, and since the featured story for the nationwide sessions, ‘Susheela’s Kolams’, was a level 1 story, we were in a bit of a quandry about how to hold the interest of the older participants.

 That is when we conceived the idea of introducing the participants to the concept of Kolams and show them how to make kolams from various dot patterns. Once they got the hang of it, practising on plain white paper, they were given brightly coloured squares of origami paper and sticks of chalk to make kolams as the fancy took them.

And the results were AMAZING! The children turned out flowers, butterflies, kites, hour-glasses, the national flag, a puppy, and even a kolam that looked like a Ninja weapon!!

And, of course, with kolam-making on their minds, the story, which might have been expected to bore older children, was extremely well received, even by the 12 year-olds in the group!

Next on the agenda was a tremendously funny story ‘Mr. Know-it-All’ — another one from Pratham Books. Besides being a highly insightful and true-to-life tale, it kept the entire group in splits!

We then moved on to a story chain. Each child was given a secret word on a slip of paper, which they had to use to continue a story that we started for them. The resulting story was truly spectacular (we will put it up shortly on our children’s creative writing website www.wordsandmorekids.wordpress.com along with the names of the participants).

We are really proud of our youngsters who display such keen minds, given the slightest encouragement and effort, and equally proud to be part of the Pratham Books’ endeavour to spread the joy of reading.

The session wrapped up with snacks and pictures, with all the participants displaying their kolams.

A wonderful, enjoyable session indeed, and we look forward to many more such events!

Thank you Parul and Meeta for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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