Friday 11 April 2014

Pratham Books Champions : Rasika Wadodkar

This story was sent to us by Rasika Wadodkar. 

Venue – EnlitKids Bookstore, Baner, Pune

Revaa, Sara, Ketaki, Arnav, Ruchir, Dhruv and his brother, Kanak, and Kushal listened goggle-eyed as Paplu, the giant, decided to transform himself from a shy, non-violent, gentle being into a raging adversary for Angaar the dacoit. One by one, the kids stomped about—a la Paplu in the forest. They shouted “Whoosh…Whoosh” as Paplu drew closer. They emulated his deep-throated roar as he warned Angaar. They thrashed their arms about giving a sound beating to the troublesome bandits. And as the story ended, they cheered for Paplu, happy that their gentle hero had assumed a ferocious avatar to save his beloved villagers! 

Yes, we sure had fun at the reading session—all of us, right from age 5 to 40! It was the weekend before the Ganesh Festival and some of those who had signed up could not attend; but neither that nor the pouring rain dampened our fun. The EnlitKids Bookstore staff was a great help and the children spent some time initially flipping through the books and getting comfortable – without any “Do not touch” directions!

We first went around the room, asking everyone to think aloud on hearing the word “Giant.” Pat came the replies…Big. Ferocious. Angry. Cruel. Gigantic. Fighting. Scary. Mean. Troublesome. Against such stereotypes, our Paplu came as a total surprise and the kids fell in love with him rightaway! 

The story was a huge success. Their favorite part was Soni’s lisp and they all mimicked her and sang “Paplu Paiya Paplu Paiya…” with great gusto! They also loved shouting out “Whoosh Whoosh,” louder and louder, and for a bunch of just 9, they created quite a riot! 

We winded up with a word search activity created around the story. The words chosen were those that the kids could refer to and use as a framework to recreate the story. 

There were questions too…
• How did Paplu grow back to his reduced size again? He did not know the magic chant to go small…
• Why was Paplu not happy being big? (This was really insightful because the child was not questioning Paplu’s unhappiness with typical giant behavior traits, but his unhappiness about his natural physical size.)
• Did Soni’s parents allow her to play with Paplu after they got to know he was a giant? (Once again insightful into the kind of parenting we adults give our kids.)

It was wonderful to note that they did not accept everything as was, and were curious to go beyond the scripted story. And on being told about International Literacy Day and how parallel story sessions were happening all across the country, one 9-year-old said, “Wow… so just like we have pen friends, we now have story friends.” That sums it all up, I’d say!


On International Literacy Day (2013), Pratham Books took 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. In 2012, Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. In 2013, over a 1000 sessions took place 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 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 champions(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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