Boosting literacy rates has been a key concern of Tata Power’s CGPL in the region it operates in. To help increase reading levels, a library program was initiated alongside other key programs to inculcate reading as a habit amongst children. Developing this habit has been linked to stimulating self-learning for a long time and the goal was to spread reading as a fun activity to as many children as possible.
Libraries served as an extension of Read India and Read India Plus and aimed to develop as a learning hub in the village. Groups of children were formed and project work was appointed to support development of higher skills.
The library program model
The program was conducted at a community place accessible to all, such as a temple courtyard or in the school. Books and reading material were distributed to children which ranged from simple, familiar texts to complex, unfamiliar and abstract texts. They were then encouraged to narrate stories that they read in their own words. To help with this project, volunteers were mobilised, trained and provided with story books. Children were encouraged to visit the library to read books and over 521 children were provided access to 18 libraries under this program. The program yielded unprecedented results as many children took up reading.
A success story
In one of the villages, Maska, where the library program is currently underway, volunteers such as Krishnaben and Dhara Maheta encouraged children to pick up reading under the program. One of the children, Bhumi, was given different genres of books and although she was only nine years of age, she showed tremendous improvement in her reading skills.
Bhumi went on to encourage her peers to begin reading and her younger brother also developed reading as a habit eventually. Her teachers noticed a big improvement in her learning levels, which led to boosting her confidence and reducing her inhibitions in participating in class discussions. She shares what books she has read to her class in the bid to inspire many more to follow her lead.
A single story of success is enough encouragement for CGPL to carry on with its program to help other children adopt reading as a habit too. With consistent support from volunteers, the aim to build a community that takes pride in reading is just around the corner.