It was 2017 close to the festival of Deepavali or the festival of lights. I had gone to Chennai to celebrate the festival with family. At this time we also had a load of books that were dropped from the US to Chennai, due to some good samaritan agreeing to carry the books from USA. I had to pick them up and take it with me to Hyderabad or think about organisations at Chennai itself. As this was happening, Sarva Vidya caught our spotlight. Sarva Vidya is a trust that empowers the girl child through its nursing diploma program and also conducts after school classes for children in various grades. The trust itself sits at the Sarada Vidyalaya school run by the Ramakrishna Mutt – a local language medium school. The school and the trust have a good connection and the after school programs of Sarva Vidya run at the school as well. The headmistress of the after school program Ms. Namagiri, Ms. Thenmozhi of Sarva Vidya , Mr CSRaghunathan one of the early founders and board member of Sarva Vidya and I met at Mr Raghunathan’s house. We discussed on the importance of reading and how to inculcate the same amongst children at an early stage. At this time the concept of Joy of Reading hour popped up. The discussion then proceeded to how we could implement it at Sarada Vidyalaya. No plan was made but agreed that we should start it at some point of time. Fate smiled at us and we had Ms. Ranjani Raghu interested in the Joy of Reading concept and decided to volunteer for the same. Everything seemed to fall in line. And thus the Joy of Reading journey started in Sarada Vidyalaya. Ranjani started visiting the school twice a week to conduct the JoR hour. Her routine was to read the various story books present to children. The school is primarily a Tamil language medium school. However, small English stories were read and the children ended up learning new words. Often some activities around the story was also conducted as to who can repeat the story and what new words have been learnt etc.
The reading of the story along with explanation in Tamil
Interactive session where meaning of new words learnt are asked of the children
Ranjini : I am a part of Joy Of Reading program for the past one year, where I was reading story books for children of classes 4th and 5th in Ramakrishna mission, Sarada middle school in Chennai. It was a very nice experience. Children was so excited to listen to the stories by which they also learnt a few english words. They all enjoyed the session and were always waiting for the next session to come. Some children who did not open up in the beginning also started to participate at the end of the year. Overall it was an enjoyable experience for both me and the children
JoR Hour is a a volunteer run program. JoR is always on the look out for volunteers to help conduct the JoR hour in schools of its various partners. Ping us if you are interested.
Thanks to Ranjani, the JoR hour at Sarada Vidyalaya has been running successfully for the past one year. Here are some testimonials from some kids in the school after a year of the program
Kamalesh talking about his jolly experience in JoR Hour. He loved the Tenali Raman story and the peacock story. And learning new English words makes him feel good
Nisha from the 5th grade tells that she loves learning English through her story teacher & stories
A whole bunch of children treat it as a great platform to gain proficiency in English language and find the the story hour great fun which is different than their usual routine. As and when we find volunteers we want to scale the concept to other schools that we partner with as well. Stay tuned for the next experiment we are conducting at Sarva Vidya – to level and measure the reading level of children
Till then its Au revoir !