For the Academic year 2012- 13, our goal is to pre select 3 schools ( Std 3) and do a weekly story session in the classroom to bring children to love books and also to get a sense of how this impacts reading motivation and literacy.
We began with the Auxilium High School in Caranzalem and it was joyful. The term joyful learning is so hackneyed in education discourse that one tends to scorn the word itself. But to stand in the front of 46 eager story listeners and open a book and watch their eyes light up, their minds keep track and their faces delight is nothing short of joyful!
Children have universal responses to story and I am always struck by how important it is to choose story books at least at the beginning of a program that connect with the lives of the children. And so we read Joe on Holiday. The paper construction in the book adds immense value to a simple story line that is real for children in Goa who grow up on the coast and are familiar with the beach.
46 eager faces, followed Joe page by page and listened and repeated in both Konkani and English all that Joe did whilst on the beach. They then proceeded to put on paper a favourite experience from the beach and as a literacy educator I am reminded of how easy it is to share in images. Children drew crabs, fishing boats, icecream in various flavours, treasure chests and shells. They wrote the name of the book and I hope as always that they will remember Joe.
What we learnt is that a 25 minute school period is too short. We ran out of time for independent reading and that is important. We must begin to negotiate for more time to spend with books in schools.
What will stay with me for a longer time is little Shubham. As we were gathering books and colours, he came up to me, all 7 years of him and said in Konkani,” you used to come to Cacra” and I looked at him and remembered! Of course, he used to be part of the group at the MOP site on Cacra beach and here we meet again in a classroom in Caranzalem, around books. Joyful!