Tarini Puri | Times Of India, Pune | Monday, July 22, 2013
A change in teaching methodology has brought about a 43% improvement in the reading abilities of nearly 6,000 students from 120 civic schools in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
According to the survey done by Door Step School, an NGO, the reading abilities of the 6,000-odd standard I students recorded a positive change against the average of the last five years. By the end of the last academic year, the percentage of students reading all the letters in the alphabet and composite letters prescribed for their age has gone up to 53% from a mere 10%. As a result, the percentage of students promoted to class II despite being unable to read all the letters in the alphabet has dropped from 39% to 12%.
Maintaining the conventional form of learning, the different teaching methodology included word-games and use of attractive charts and pictures to teach the alphabet. Simple stories and songs also helped build children’s interest in reading. Students were even provided wordcharts for practice at home.
Rajani Paranjpe, founder-president of Door Step School, which developed the ‘learning with fun’ methodology, says the improvement is the result of a sustained effort. “At the end of the academic year, more than one-third of standard I students used to be left behind as they could not read all the letters in the alphabet. Two years ago, we restructured our sessions with these children to focus on improving their reading abilities,” she says.
The objective was to enable children to identify all the letters of the Marathi alphabet as well as ‘Matras’ and use the two to read words and make sentences with it. The NGO conducted a 45-minute class everyday during school hours and took tests twice a week to evaluate the progress.
The organisation also conducted meetings with parents and shared periodic reports of children’s progress.
“My son now reads with understanding. He really enjoys the classes. He reads to me when he comes home,” says Surekha Naik, one the many parents happy with the NGO’s efforts.
Amruta Kulkarni, a teacher at a municipal school in Warje, admits that the methodology has shown results. “We work in tandem with members of the NGO. The classes are engaging as the children play interesting games, sing songs and do projects,” she says.
According to Paranjpe, students’ reading levels depend mostly on their attendance in school. “ This year, 86% students who had more than 80% attendance crossed the required skill levels. Many children, who could not even read words earlier, started asking for books to take home,” she says.
The NGO has also identified reasons behind a high dropout rate. “Absence of school transport facilities and migration of families along with children are the main reasons,” Paranjpe says.
Road To Reading
- According to a survey by Door Step School, 53% of 6,000 students of PMC and PCMC schools can read all the letters in the alphabet and composite letters prescribed for their age
- Performance is an improvement of 43% against the average of the last five years
- 86% of children who had 80% attendance cleared the reading ability tests conducted by the NGO
- This academic year, only 12% children promoted to standard II are unable to read all the letters in the alphabet. It was 39% till last year
- Achieved through different teaching methodology including word-games, use of attractive charts and pictures, story-telling and singing
- NGO conducted 45-minute class every day during school hours and conducted bi-weekly tests
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