The day I read the advertisement about a vacancy in Bookworm, I somehow felt that it would be a great place for me to work in. I spoke to a few of my friends who knew about the organisation and they all gave positive feedback. My first contact with the Bookworm team was on 15th September 2016, when I observed the team doing story Read Aloud sessions with the children at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Goa Velha. The team was super in the way they Read Aloud stories and got the children to discuss and participate in craft, art, acting and writing. In the car while heading to the library, everyone spoke to each other and discussed the highlights of the session. I heard them speak and when they realized I was listening to them and thinking about their discussions, the question posed to me was very funny. Do you think we are crazy? In my mind I said, you all are crazy and me too! I smiled. This was the best thing to happen and I knew I was in a right place. So my journey at Bookworm started.
I met the other team members back in the library. They were busy practicing their story Read Alouds; some were singing the songs they were to sing with the children; some were busy putting books in the correct place and some were reading different stories to choose for their session. It was like a magical place filled with coloured charts, books and bright smiles. Of course it was not a silent place and I felt comfortable.
The team welcomed me with lots of love. They took the trouble to teach me different things like Reading Assessment Tool (RAT), categorizing books according to genre, packing stationery, handling borrowing register, etc. Soon I became a part of the team. The interest in reading came to me through their discussions about different story books, authors and illustrators. They spoke of the different books they liked and recommended to me some books like Heart in the Bottle, Duck Death and Tulip, I Want My Hat Back, etc.; books that were put on the outstanding shelf and those listed in their Read Aloud book selection. I began reading and understanding what I like about books. Through books I travelled to different unknown places.
The children I interacted with made me think, understand and question. When I read out the story Six Blind Men and The Elephant, the children asked me some interesting questions. They wondered how the blind men knew what a snake was like or what a wall was like when they couldn’t see! When we went outside the classroom, I was surprised by the knowledge the children had about plants. The children’s curiosity and their needs made me work harder, thinking about how to engage with them and learning different ways by which I could reach out to them. The guidance provided to me for this by everyone at Bookworm, pushed me through many activities. Planning sessions, expressing views, executing, reflecting and gaining knowledge became part of me.
Apart from doing sessions for children in schools and communities, I was also lucky to be part of children’s events like Reading in the Park, Summer Blast and the fund raising Jumble sale. For exposure visits I got to travel to Bangalore and Mysore. There I was able to share what we do and interact with the children and teachers and to learn other teaching methods. The projects and studies done in the library also helped me learn about different types of books, understand text and strengthen my knowledge.
Bookworm has been a place for me to learn, understand and reflect. I read stories to others and to myself. I dance, sing and smile with the children. With my fingers being given a chance to fold paper into craft and with my mind pushed to constantly think of new ideas to engage with children, I feel happy to be a part of Bookworm 🙂