Our little experiment to inculcate Joy of Reading

The JoR Hour – What , How & more …

WE are a team of 4 volunteers (Sailaja, Shiney, Vandana, Harini) in India who helped conduct the JoR hour at TSWRS Narsingi for the academic year 2019 – 2020. The JoR hour was conducted during the library hours for the children.

We conducted the library session twice a week for two classes of fifth graders. Each class consisted of 40 children. There was always two of us in the classes to attend to the large number of children. And some days we had all of us present and hence more attention to the kids.

The books that we gave were levelled based on the GROW By methodology from Hippocampus. As a first step, we measured the reading levels of the children. The children were grouped according to their levels and were asked to take books based on their level. WE conducted Interactive Read Aloud Sessions for the different groups as per their level to help them learn techniques on how to read and understand books. The children were then given exercises at the end of classes to express their understanding of the books.

We also had struggling readers amongst the children. We helped them learn FRY’s sight words and continued to read for them and helped them read the same book multiple times and tried to get them to understand the books. A significant amount of time was spent with these kids.

Bottom-line, a systematic approach was taken up during the library hour where the kids had to read atleast one book based on their level, express their understanding of the book after which they were free to take any book to read.

What did we see?

We used the Hippocampus level measurement. GROW BY (Green, Red, Orange, White, Blue, Yellow) – increasing order of difficulty. Here is what we observed from the 5th A and 5th B class.

Quantitative Results

VB 
(*) 50% of Green reduced to 10% 
(*) 16% of Orange increased to 48% Orange+ 
VA
(*) 70% of Green reduced to 25%
(*) 7.5 % Orange increased to 25%

Qualitative Results

(*) "How come children in 5thare able to speak in English so much?" - Visitors to school mentioned it to Principal mam  
(*) Children attempt to speak in broken English whenever they can. 
(*) Every group attempted a skit (a whole blog entry devoted to this later)


From English Teacher “I observe a subtle difference in the 5th class children this year. They don’t seem to waste time roaming around when they have free hours but seem to involve either in art, reading, writing  or something else. I haven’t observed this in other class children so far. The 5th class kids are more mature and their character is much better.” She believes that reading has made a significant difference.

This was the best according to our team as reading has instilled values which is a life long learning !!!

These results were over a period of 7 months. Overall very positive.   Of course reading session was not the only reason for this advancement. The children also went through school classes .  However, this gave us data on how the demographics in the class looked like wrt English language – the medium of instruction in the school. In the long term it would help tailor teaching English according to the levels of the children. It made reading pleasant as the children were able to pick the right books to read.A lot of focused Interactive Read Aloud for Struggling readers was also done. The 5th std English text book is eqvt to a Orange level.

A couple of girls were in struggling readers as they were from Telugu medium schools. Very smart girls and their only handicap was that they weren’t exposed much to English. But these girls had the grit and determination . They put in so much effort (atlesast from what we observed in reading classes) and they moved up !! It was a thrilling moment for the team !!! The reading helped them to go up a bit faster. They kept hearing us speak, read aloud to them etc. 

Though we always tell the kids, that this is not a pass/fail class and no one needs to feel bad if they haven’t moved up a level, there were some girls who felt bad and wanted to work harder to improve. There were also 2 to 3 kids, who were totally disinterested but they were the extremities.

Result Graphs

Legend
GREEN- – means struggling readers
We have ‘-‘ group just to create 2 groups within a level. The ‘-‘ group is a bit lower than the regular Group i.w RED- < RED

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Future Plans

Our plan is to equip librarians and English teachers to guide children to pick up the right book and help the children progress in their reading levels. We have also developed a training workshop for librarians and English teachers to measure reading levels and incorporate simple techniques in their day to day teaching or operations.

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