Friday 21 June 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Shoba Naidu

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.

This story was sent by Shoba Naidu.

Pratham Books’ Champion programme, conducted on World Literacy Day (September 8), helped me to reach out to the Government Higher Primary School, Hennur, an under-served school, close to my home.

Located in the eastern sector of Bangalore, the lands around the village had been acquired by the BDA
and had been developed into layouts a couple of decades ago. However, the village itself escaped development and appeared lost in clouds of time. Dilapidated cottages surrounded the stepped village
tank with a temple and a Banyan tree on its banks. The school itself was located in the compound of the temple and consisted of four rooms that catered from class one to seven. This government school had about 170 students on its rolls and was served by the Iskcon’s mid day meal programme.

After registering my name with Pratham Books as a volunteer, I met Ms Lakshmi, headmistress, to seek permission to read to the children. We decided to combine class 5 and 6 of about 35 students.

On the appointed day the children assembled in the class room by 9 am.  They were a very noisy group
and needed a lot of talking to before they settled down. I began by enlisting the help of a couple of boys to put up the poster. Then I told them about the World Literacy Day. Susheela’s Kolams was the story that was selected by Pratham Books and it was suitable for kids from this place as rangolis were a part of their daily lives.  The children enjoyed the story very much and a few came forward to read it themselves.  Then I asked each child to read a couple of lines sitting at their desks to enhance the sense
of participation.  The whole group had a chance to handle the book and look at the colourful pictures at
close quarters.

Then it was time to take the children out for a group activity. They trooped into the small courtyard that served as their playground. I divided the children into a six groups and gave them some rangoli powder which I had brought from home. The kids had a blast drawing the best rangolis they could. I took pictures of each group in front of the rangolis.

We then went back into the class room and the children were eager to tell their own stories. After a two hour session of reading and activity the children wanted more.

“Will you come back next Saturday, Miss?” they chorused as I bade goodbye.

Update : Shoba also wrote saying :
The children had so much fun that day that the teachers want me to take this forward. I volunteered to read to the classes of 5,6 & 7 (English language is introduced at class 5 level) on a weekly basis and requested them to have a library period for them.

Thank you Shobha 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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