World Vision International
article • Friday, August 28th 2015

A reading club transforms a community in India

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Poonam, 11, draws during the make-and-take activity held at her local Literacy Boost reading club. This exercise helps to test her writing skills as she is also made to write the name of what she drew. (Photo credit: Tiatemjen Jamir / World Vision)

Six months ago, Poonam could neither read nor write. Her vocabulary was limited to the alphabets that she was taught in school. Today, she is able to confidently read passages from books as a result of the Literacy Boost programme[1].

“World Vision India launched the Literacy Boost programme at Lalitpur (Aparajita) in 2014, and has successfully impacted 564 children, of which, 472 are regularly attending reading clubs, an activity in the programme,” says Sandip, the literacy coordinator from World Vision.

Ajay, Poonam’s reading club facilitator, reads to the children during story time at the club. (Photo credit: Tiatemjen Jamir / World Vision)

Poonam is one such girl from Chaubara, a village in Lalitpur district, where 35 children are participating in the weekly reading club.

“The reading club is fun. Learning is easy with so many activites to help us learn. We sing, we draw, we play and we read and write. Reading is my favourite,” says Poonam.

“I like school much more now. I no longer have to be scared that I can’t read,” says Poonam. “Reading and learning is now my favourite part about school.”

Ajay, the reading camp facilitator says, “None of the children here were able to fully read or write when they first joined. The reading club has helped them develop their reading and comprehension skills considerably.”

In addition to various reading activities at the reading club, the facilitators also provide Book Banks (mobile libraries) for children to take home books to read. At present there are 21 Book Banks distributed in 10 of World Vision India’s target areas.

However, learning doesn’t stop for Poonam at the reading club. The Literacy Boost programme also engages the community to play an active role in children’s education outside of school.

Community action, another component of the Literacy Boost initiative, was introduced in 2015 to promote literacy through a variety of community mobilisation activities, such as parental awareness training.

Poonam and her mother, Mamta, 30, read together at home. Poonam’s mother participates in parental awareness training through Literacy Boost. (Photo credit: Tiatemjen Jamir / World Vision)

Poonam’s mother, Mamta, is one of the parents participating in this programme. “As a parent, I’m taught to encourage and further develop Poonam’s reading and comprehension skills using communication tools,” she says. “I try and practice at home what we are taught and make the effort to talk with Poonam regularly and ensure that she fully comprehends what I say.”

“As a parent, I’m taught to encourage and further develop Poonam’s reading and comprehension skills using communication tools,” says Mamta, Poonam's mother.

Sharda, Poonam’s teacher says, “Literacy Boost has succeeded in making the process of learning easier for the children. The programme also provides us a teachers training course, where we are taught new teaching methods that are more effective in improving a child’s reading and comprehension ability.”

“Poonam was weak in class. She was shy, didn’t participate in classroom activities and barely came to school. Her reading skills have improved significantly since World Vision introduced the programme in the community. She has gained confidence and attends school regularly now,” says Sharda.

“I like school much more now. I no longer have to be scared that I can’t read,” says Poonam. “Reading and learning is now my favourite part about school.”

Poonam and her teacher, Sharda, at school “Poonam’s reading skills have improved significantly since World Vision introduced [Literacy Boost] in the community. She has gained confidence and attends school regularly now,” says Sharda. (Photo credit: Tiatemjen Jamir / World Vision)

As Poonam continues to participate in reading clubs, she, and many like her, are well on their way to possessing a strong grasp on their reading skills with a little help from their community members and school teachers.

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[1] Literacy Boost is a copyrighted tool designed, developed, and owned by Save the Children.

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