Ideas from the first round of Innovations at Early Reading Innovation Workshop

So here is a list of the ideas that each participant came up with some time ago. The workshop has gone beyond this, to actually developing some selected ideas, but I’m a tad behind with all the jumping between physical and virtual spaces. So, I track back a bit and present to you this very interesting list.

sunil innov

Innovator:  Sunil, Humana People to People, India

Innovation: Group Formation

Tagline: Making Groups of Five Students in a Classroom

Steps Addressed: 3, 5 and 7

And the Idea Is: Pupil teacher ratio is too high, so lets make groups of children in classrooms. Each group can consist of five children and these children will work as each others’ support group and help and encourage each other with reading skills and activities. In smaller groups, children tend to be more active and building a peer support network will also take some burden off the teacher who is often unable to pay attention to individual students.


ritika innov

Innovator: Ritika, Education Initiatives

Innovation: I love Reading

Tagline: Khel Khel Mein Jaan

Steps Addressed: 1 through 6

And the Idea Is: Personalized reading program disseminated by the use of technology. This innovation suggests that we need to use audio visual content in the form of digitized content. This content uses engaging visuals, same language subtitling, voice overs, and other such methods to reach students and teachers and help them connect to reading in more stimulating and interesting ways. The innovation also suggests that teachers need to be empowered to leverage technology in the classroom, to better engage with students.


ejjibabu innov

Innovator: Ejji Babu, World Vision, India

Innovation: B.BtR -Babies Born to Read

Tagline: MCH (Maternal and Child Health) and Reading for Mothers-to-Be

Steps Addressed: 1 to 3, 5 to 7

And the Idea Is: Combine Maternal and Child Health interventions with reading interventions for young mothers-to-be. The material and infrastructure used for one can be simultaneously used for the other, via ANMs, Anganwadi Centers, nutrition and vaccination camps, and so on. The information literature for pregnant women and young mothers can also be presented in the form of stories so that the information is better remembered and also introduces them to basic reading. These mothers will then be able to impart early reading skills to their children.


Innovator: Bonnie Carlson, USAID

Innovation: Print Nation

Tagline: Because a Print Nation is a Reading Nation

Steps Addressed: 2,3,6,7

And the Idea Is: Bringing books to the public space. Lets create graphic posters, which are parts of serialised stories. Children can put these up in public spaces, just like advertisements and with each poster the story moves forward. This evokes curiosity among the readers/viewers who may be children or adults and also inculcates a motivation for reading outside of school, in common spaces.


swati kapur innov

Innovator: Swati Kapur, Community Empowerment Lab

Innovation: Literacy-Load= Learning

Tagline: Lets take the load out of learning!!

Steps Addressed: 1 through 7

And the Idea Is: to create an information and learning package consisting of content that is available on radio in the form of stories and narrated books; as audio and video files that can be downloaded. Demonstrations of using these tools and content can be given at home, in community centers, in Ananwadi centers and so on. In addition to content we should also create learning centers in communities that can use this content in fun-filled activities that teach children and adults to read.



amarjit innov

Innovator: Amarjeet, Katha

Innovation: Katha All-In School Mission

Tagline: To bring all children to read for wellness and fun

Steps Addressed: 2, 5, 6 and 7

And the Idea Is: centered around the community. Bringing together all the stakeholders in a community, pledging to send all children to school. The community benefits from this pledge in the manner that these very children bring back a culture of reading from school to the community, starting off a cycle of progress and enrichment.The use of multimedia resources and visually stimulting reading material in communities and schools will further enhance this process.


tanya suri innov

Innovator: Tanya Suri, Indian School Leadership Institute

Innovation: Reading for Meaning

Tagline: Empowering the school team

Steps Addressed: 2 through 5

And the Idea Is: focus on the school principal or the school leader. Empower her or him with good practices- operational, instructional and managerial.  Orient teachers on best practices of reading. Work on developing pedagogical practices that incorporate the importance of ‘meaning’ in the act of ‘reading’. This could include: reading for meaning; writing for purpose; emphasis on meaning and context; and appropriate children’s literature.


ruchi innov

Innovator: Ruchi, Sesame Workshop India

Innovation: Listen. Talk. Read

Tagline: An innovative program to support children to read

Steps Addressed: 4

And the Idea Is: Innovation in content delivery to children. This can be achieved through print, radio and television, and digital media. This can help address the reality of classroom conditions and practices which are overcrowding, multi-grade classrooms, high pupil teacher ratio. If low cost innovation in these areas are made available to them, perhaps children can become self motivated readers. Using engaging content and innovative delivery formats, perhaps we can set in motion a cycle which can help combat the pressure on the teacher and even address reading for children who drop out of school.


keerti jayaram innov

Innovator: Keerti Jayaram

Innovation: Growing Readers!

Tagline: Engaged readers grow to be great readers

Steps Addressed: All

And the Idea Is: to work towards building communities of reading where facilitating adults such as parents, teachers and other community members are supported with knowledge, skills and other resources. The various ways of supporting them can be:setting up demo sites for various situations that they may come across in teaching reading;
guided practices;
mentoring support;
setting up knowledge resource pools  and networks.


BFFs innov

Innovator: Priyanka Goswami, Digantar

Innovation: BFFs

Tagline: I, Me and My Friends

Steps Addressed: 5

And the Idea Is: Child Talk- meaning making talks embedded in their context; Child and Text- letting the child be with the text rather than asking for predefined solutions; Using Everyday Material- using various environmental text from road signs to medicine labels etc.; Providing scaffolding for teachers. The aim of this intervention is to allow and encourage children to express, talk and share among themselves.


It seems that it is difficult to address any one step of reading without having in place solutions that address other challenges. Each problem feeds into another and tackling isolated problems may not help. What may work though is creating solutions for different parts of the larger challenge and creating a network of solutions. This can help tackle different aspects of the challenge from different perspectives, through working with different stakeholders. So collaboration, we see, can have many meanings, even in the domain of early grade reading, and this workshop has managed to throw up one more for me. As for innovation, there is more of that in the next post, when we get to looking at the ideas developed by participants working together.

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