Thursday 18 September 2014

Pratham Books Champion : Storipur

Priya Muthukumar from Storipur tells us about her International Literacy Day session. Priya conducted this storytelling session as part of Storipur. As a student counselor and educator, she enjoys all her interactions with kids. Writing, telling stories and simply being with Mother Nature are few of the many things she loves to do! Storipur intends to fill up the gaps, through the ancient art form, storytelling. Sharing stories about environment, countries, societies, cultures and about all ourselves: it's Storipur's humble attempt to build responsible communities.

Session conducted on : 7th September
Number of kids : 15
Number of sessions : 1
Language the session was conducted in : English

Every storytelling session Ive been anchoring for Pratham Books' Tentastic initiative has been unique and special to me in an inexplicable way. I must say, my storytelling session for the International Literacy Day based on Takloo, The Little Salt Seller took the excitement and learning a notch higher!

A super simple storyline with many layers which can be explored to suit the context , I feel is the beauty of this eloquent story by Radhika Bapat. As a naturalist, I thoroughly enjoyed discussing about vegetation, animal-and bird life in a beach habitat,with the kids. Thanks to Anjarle, the set background for Takloo’s story provided the much needed trigger for this ecosystem – based discussion of ours.

Do you know what ‘Kashee Asaa?’ means. Well, it means 'how are you?' in Konkani. Again, a few words in Marathi & Konkani were exchanged to touch base with Takloo’s regional background - Maharashtra. So, you see, language learning also happened!

We moved on with the story. The very mention of the name, Takloo, brought a lot of giggles and guffaws. The kids shared about somebody, somewhere they had seen who was bald and how they made fun etc. As a facilitator and educationist, attaching and detaching is something I’ve learnt through my experiences with kids. I didn't intervene, I let the kids take the discussion ahead. Some, telling it’s wrong to make fun, some giving their notions about appearances etc.

Illustrations- Poonam Athalye. The pictures are a mix of black and white and colour photographs! Funny and distinct. The kids rolled with laughter when they saw Banabai’s angry , hair-in-the-air face! I love(d) Banabai’s blue sari and her Maharashtrian (Dharwad?) blouse . Minutest details, nuances have been kept in mind , eg. the Alphonso mangoes in the pages. 6, 7. Another excuse for me and the kids to discuss about vegetation and how yummm mangoes are....yum, yum. Endearing depiction of all the characters...loved Moti!!

Role play- As a storyteller, generally I try my best, to initiate a role-play. So, we divided ourselves as buyers and sellers. The sellers were to pretend carrying their pots of salt and go around hawking, selling their pots. The buyers will pick and choose who to buy their required quantity of salt from! Now, here the focus was not just, ‘pretend-play’, but, ‘money-matters’ too! One pot was Rs.1.50/- ( I gave them this fixed rate), so there were Math calculations  happening while buying and selling!

Now, this storytelling session was conducted on Onam day! Now, how can we ignore this beautiful festival! So, we did a little bit of cultural- learning too, as I tried connecting the dots between the two cultures, Kerala and Maharashrian! I had worn a traditional Kerala saree which in a way, triggered our discussion... 'Aunty, why are you wearing this dress?’

During Onam, people make vibrant rangolis called pookalam with flowers at their doorstep. What did we do? The kids were asked to collect dry, fallen down leaves, flowers (no plucking!) and give a new hairstyle for Takloo drawn on a big table. Take a look at the collage! A few girls , even managed to leave flowers on Takloo’s ears...priceless moments!

Not to forget, an artwork ~ designing a hat/ cap for Takloo!

Well, while there are debates in the education sector, pertaining to subject-integration and age- integration (we had kids of mixed age groups for the storytelling session), this storytelling session & story did all of that! The story hugely enabled me to interweave and interconnect several aspects and 
concepts. There are still several other possibilities, many more concepts which can emerge from this story. Hmm.. looking forward to explore and experiment more in my other upcoming storytelling sessions with this universally appealing story, Takloo- The Little Salt Seller.

Thank you Takloo and Pratham Books! Well, whoever said learning and fun has to be in a certain way! They are subjective, we did learn and have fun in our own way!


Thank you Priya and Storipur for spreading the joy of reading!

In its third edition of the 'One Day - One Story' campaign, Pratham Books was joined by 1300+ storytellers who conducted 1500+ storytelling sessions. More than 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 . We will be sharing the stories of all our volunteer storytellers (Pratham Books Champions) through our blog.

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations held in 2014.

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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