Door Step School started Project Grow with Books in 1999 with the aim of developing the reading skills of children and enhancing their vocabulary. It was initially started in the primary section of 10 schools as part of the school time table and has now, after 10 years, grown to reach more than 44,000 children from 140 municipal schools in the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad areas. The goal was to improve the reading skills of the children and generate a love for reading which would eventually develop into a love for learning. Better reading also results in improving the quality of learning and helps the children to cope with academics.
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Project Grow with Books has three main programs:
First Steps Forward (Standard 1)
“First Steps Forward” is a new initiative within our “Grow With Books” project. Through this initiative, a special focus on 1st standard students will be given with the aim to increase the number of children reaching the expected levels of learning at the end of the 1st standard. Reading Ability Tests of year 2007 to 2011 show that less than 10% of children reach the expected levels of learning (reading/writing) at the end of 1st standard.
In year 2011-12, we launched the “First Steps Forward” initiative on an experimental basis in 21 schools. The goal was to enable all the children from 1st standard to read 85% of their prescribed text book, provided they have minimum 80% school attendance.
In year 2012-2013, the “First Steps Forward “initiative is being conducted in 75 Pune Municipal Corporation schools where our current “Grow With Books” project is already running. Special support classes have been conducted every day in all divisions of 1st standard in the 75 schools. These support classes are designed to provide tools and techniques to bring children up to the expected levels of learning.
In our current program, the book-fairy (the field workers of the program) visits the schools everyday with each class being visited at least once a week. All the teaching aids used in these classes are designed by Door Step School and are activity based
Reading Class Program (Standard 1-4)
Our motivation to start the Reading Class program stems from the lack of reading skills of children studying in public schools. These children have almost no access to any books other than their text books. They have no opportunity to hone their reading skills.
Once the schools are selected, each standard is allotted one Reading class per week. The class teacher is usually present in the classroom; a few of them even participate in the activities. The activities of the classes are conducted by book-fairies (field level workers of the program). Normally, two book-fairies together conduct a reading class session of 90 minutes in duration. Each class and hence every student gets 90 minutes of supervised reading and related activities every week. Related activities include word games, singing songs and reciting poems, story telling etc.
The book fairy usually carries a set of books (at least 1.5 times the class strength) with her to the Reading class. The books are selected according to the reading levels of the children in that class. The reading levels are determined on the basis of the Reading Ability Test which is administered twice a year.
- Coloring Activity is conducted for the children at regular intervals to maintain interest in the program.
- Reading competition is held to improve pronunciation and remove stage fright.
- Story telling competition is held to improve comprehension skills.
Two new initiatives were started for the children of standard 1 to improve their reading/writing ability and to bring them up to par with the reading levels for that age group.
- Sibling – Pair: A brother/sister studying in a higher class was asked to help in teaching the younger sibling with help from the Book Fairy. The goal was to reach “Matras Complete” level and the sibling pair that achieved this was rewarded for their efforts
- Parent Participation:The Book Fairies met the parents to guide them in different ways to teach their children. The teaching material was provided by DSS and the goal was to reach the “Composite Letters” level
Home Lending Program (Standard 1-7)
The Home Lending program is targeted towards primary and middle school children and is an extension of the Reading class program. Those children that are able to read reasonably well are given books to take home. We offer them a wide variety of age appropriate books to read.
Learn more about how you can help “Project Grow with Books”