student’s reading skills in 45 days by Jayalakshmi
Bangalore, September 4, 2006
Another 15 days and
the reading skills of some 75,000 students in 1,400
government schools in Bangalore should have considerably
improved. That is the outcome expected from the 45-day
programme initially under the aegis of Karnataka learning
As reported earlier, most teachers and students have
expressed satisfaction about the programme. However,
many questions remain. For instance, is one shot of
the module all that is required to boost reading skills
as low as the zero level?
What about the time this takes from the regular teaching
hours? If this is about attractive presentation, why
can’t our textbooks be made more colorful? Plus,
given the focus that this technique places on individual
attention, what about schools where there are hardly
one or two teachers to teach all the primary classes?
Is the interest part of the newness of the technique?
Can it be sustained?
Speaking to the Deccan Herald, Director for Primary
Education, G. Chandrashekhar, sought to dispel some
of the above doubts.
“We are already seeing the progress made by students
who were unable to read anything. I am quite sure that
the 45 day period is sufficient to do the job as long
as the teachers put their mind to it.”
Bu he acknowledges that there could be a tendency towards
rote learning which could mask the actual reading progress.
“To overcome this, we are advising teachers to
make children read from library books as soon as they
teach sentence level.”
He does not believe that an hour every day for 45 days
will affect the regular lessons. “Anyway, what
use rushing with the syllabus if the child can’t
read?” Making textbooks attractive would be a
tough task given the numbers and the cost.
Most important for this programme, as also for any,
he agrees is the monitoring. That is what can ensure
the success of the programme. The director is happy
with the monitoring being provided by Akshara Foundation
through its resource persons and volunteers.
Once satisfied that the reading programme has helped,
plans are on to take it further and implement it at
the cluster levels that are shown to be the poorest
in performance by the Karnataka School Quality Assessment,
says Chandrashekhar. This could approximately cover
400 clusters of 14-15 schools each, across the State.
He is pleased that the programme has seen an increased
awareness in teachers regarding the competencies of
the students as also a sense of competition among schools.
Agreeing with him is BEO Somashekhar A., who vouches
for the enthusiasm among the teaching community for
the chart method. But will this enthusiasm last once
the newness is over? Is there a need to induce fresh
blood into our teaching methods? Somashekhar points
to the regular meetings held by the cluster resource
people where ideas and suggestions are thrashed out
with vigour to improve the teaching learning outcome.
The partnership is between Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and
Akshara Foundation. The accelerated reading programme
makes use of 45 colourful charts that use the story-telling
method to coax students to read.