Written by Flavia
At most of our Monday-morning LiS meetings, the group discusses various methods to get kids more interested in reading. We know that the kids enjoy browsing through books and selecting one to take home. However, only a few actually read their books – some are able to tell the story from the pictures; others can read just the title of the book and there are some who can only see words like ‘a’ and ‘the’. After 3 LiS years in some schools, the group decided that we could not let this continue.
One of the schools in which the LiS program has been supported by the Alban Couto Library Project for the past 3 academic years is the St. Thomas Boys’ Primary School situated in the picturesque village of Aldona in North Goa. The boys in Std. III have been with the LiS program since Std. I and so we decided to introduce these kids to Choral reading, a tried and trusted method of getting weaker kids to read along with those who are not daunted by words.
One Thursday morning, the boys were led out onto the school playground to an area under some trees. We divided them into 5 groups of 6-7 boys each after ensuring that every group had at least 2 capable readers. We had carried along a selection of Graded Readers and so each group was given one book to read together. Soon the only sounds that could be heard were birds and the soft buzz of boys reading. Soft, because they were told that the other groups would be disturbed if they read too loud. We went to each group, but did not interfere unless asked.
After all the groups had finished reading, the boys were led back to the classroom, where they sat in their groups and answered a few questions about their books. There were some who followed the school’s rules and did not want to do writing work in groups, but for the first time, the boys were allowed to read together in small groups, for fun.