Friday 20 September 2013

Pratham Books Champion : K G Rajalakshmi and Sindhu H R

K G Rajalakshmi and Sindhu H R sent us the following report about the storytelling sessions they conducted at a government school.

We, Smt. Sindhu and Smt. Rajalakshmi, were volunteers at a Government School, on a regular basis, for the past 2 months. This was through a service organization, on a project of interacting with the students using the play-way method. Thus we were familiar with one another. These kids liked to listen to stories and hence we thought of conducting our story telling session at this school. On 7th September we went to the same Government School @ Gandhi Bazar, Bangalore for our Story Telling Session. Our language for story telling was Kannada and we had our Kannada version of the story book ready with us.

Report by K G Rajalakshmi:

We divided the students between us. As Sindhu preferred the junior group, I accepted the senior group. As the kids were from 4th to 7th standard, I framed my programme as reading the story instead of narrating it. I informed them about the day being “World Literacy Day”. We talked about what literacy meant, why it was important, etc. I informed them about Pratham Books also. This was the preamble to my actual story reading.

Majority of the students were construction laborer’s children. Their exposure to the literary world was very limited. I was trying to expand it through this story also. I didn’t make any alterations in the story. I began reading the story with a prior instruction / request to raise their hands, whenever they had any doubt / question. They listened to the reading very attentively.

Each picture was shown to them for quite a long time, after that particular sequence of reading. (One of the boys didn’t want to miss the pictures, even for a while; he came and stood beside me!) They virtually enjoyed every bit of the story. Only thing they felt sad (or uncomfortable?) about was when Paplu was embarrassed with his clothes torn as he grew big. And obviously, they enjoyed the most when he got his special new dress! They got scared when they first heard the “Whoosh!” Then they got so excited with it and every time that sound appeared, they joined me to make it louder and louder! That became the fantastic part of the story reading. Whenever I came across some new words, I conversed with them so that they visualize every bit of the whole story.

Once the story reading was over, I spread in front of them the materials I had carried – 4 sheets of KG Card Board, some cut cloth pieces, colour papers, printed waste papers, crayons, etc. I asked them, if they were willing to make any scene from the story. They were eager to make their own pictures of Paplu wearing his colourful dress. They made their own Paplu working in 4 groups.

In the evening, I read out the same story to two 8 year old girls – a girl from US now came to her grandparents during her holidays and her grandparents’ watchman’s daughter. It was a bilingual session. They too enjoyed the story.

Report from H R Sindhu:

In my group, the kids belonged to class 1 to 4th. I had told stories to these kids earlier as part of our project. This is a wonderful group who would not simply listen to the story but, will become part of the story. They also like to see the pictures in the book. So, I started telling the story with the book in my hand.

We came out of the class room and sat in the small platform in the school ground. They were all very excited to see the colorful book. So, we formed a circle and sat down as everyone can see the book. A small boy, Siddha sat next to me because he wanted to read the book. The session started by Siddha reading out the title of the book loudly to the group. I asked them, “Who is a Rakshasa?” The answer was, “One who is very HUGE and who has horns”

As we proceeded with the story, each picture was shown to them. They made their own interpretations of each picture. It was wonderful to hear them guessing the story just by seeing the pictures (Most of them are now learning reading and writing and hence not able to read much). When I read out the small poem that Soni sings to Paplu, they wanted to repeat that. We repeated it twice like a song. 

After telling the story, I asked them, “can you draw something from the story?” as I knew drawing is something they enjoy. They were provided with paper and crayons. Though they said “Yes” and started drawing, majority of them did not show much interest in the activity.

Few like Lakshmi, Siddhamma and Ganesh wanted to draw but majority was with the idea of discussing about the story. It was an open discussion and everybody was recalling what happened in the story. When I asked them, “what did they like about the story?” “Soni and Paplu” was the answer. But, surprise response was from little Siddha who said, “ade meese bitkondu kacche uttidnala avnu ishta nange (I like the man with MUSTACHE who was seen in Dhothi)”

I was very happy to see them touching the book, flipping through the pages and some trying to read on their own. I hope may be next time I can ask them to try to read the book. Though we had story telling sessions earlier also, it was an exciting experience, motivating both for me and the kids. Thanks to Pratham Books for this opportunity and we look forward for more activities of this kind.

Thank you Rajalakshmi and Sindhu for spreading the joy of reading!

This International Literacy Day, Pratham Books has taken a 1000 steps towards a 'Reading India'

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. Last year Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. This year we are delighted that over a 1000 sessions are happening across the length and breadth of the country.We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

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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