Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pratham Books Champion : Soumya Suresh

Soumya Suresh
As part of Litworld's World Read Aloud Daycelebrations, we decided to ask our community if they would conduct storytelling sessions in their cities. 50 awesome champions decided to take part and 'celebrate the power of words'. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Soumya Suresh who conducted a storytelling session in Mumbai. Soumya is a BCom (Hons.) graduate from SRCC, Delhi. She went on to completing her MBA (Finance) from Symbiosis and then worked with JP Morgan as a financial analyst. Soumya came to know about TFI and their model of change appealed to her immensely and hence she joined the cohort of 2011 fellows. Currently, she teaches a Grade IV class in Dadar, Mumbai.

Being a teacher for the past year, read alouds have formed an integral part of my literacy instruction especially since I have children of varied grade levels in one class. The concept of a World Read Aloud Day appealed to me especially since we had just trained our school teachers on it and the idea of making the read aloud an entire school event struck us - from KG to Grade VI with us going to every class to do a read aloud!

The countdown to the World Read Aloud Day began with posters informing the kids about what to was in store for them over the next 3 days. We started our celebrations by asking the children (Grade II to VI) to draw/write about how they felt the world would be if everyone could read. Their answers amazed us and varied from "people would not be fighting", "there would be no poor people", "everyone would be equal", to cite a few - all of which got them really thinking of many issues and truly valuing the education they were receiving.

Sindhu : one of the teachers who participated
The next day we held the read aloud for the kindergarten classes on the book "Paper Play". The tiny tots were fascinated with the multiple things they could do with a piece of paper! It really helped trigger their imagination as we followed up the read aloud with an art activity asking the kids to now make different things with a piece of craft paper!


The final day commenced with a read aloud of "Paper Play"(Grade I-II) followed by an art activity. For Grade III-VI, we had a read aloud of "Chuskit goes to school" which really emphasized the values of empathy and a sense of "what can I do about it?". The story kept all kids in rapt attention throughout and a million thanks to the author for having written such a beautiful story which the kids found very easy to relate to. This was followed up with an activity wherein we asked the kids to write about one thing they saw around them and would want to change. Replies varied from "I don't like people throwing garbage on the road so next time I'm going to ask them not to" to "People near my house fight a lot. I'm going to make posters and stick it on the walls which tells them that they should be friends". It was heartening to see that the kids were slowly realizing that the key for change lies in their hands.

Sindhu conducting a World Read Aloud Day session for Grade II
With the successful completion of the World Read Aloud Day, we hope to make read aloud a regular feature in our school and a love for a reading a habit among our children which I'm sure will hold them in good stead in their future!

A huge thanks to Pratham books - the sheer variety, content and illustrations in your books are brilliant! Kids love it and it's a blessing for teachers like us who don't need to try too hard to build a love for reading in them :)
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Thank you Soumya for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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