The excitement was palpable in the auditorium filled with principals who were convened with a single purpose: to work towards improving the reading skills of their students. The Â principals from 90 schools gathered together to support the launch of the Joyful Reading project in government schools in rural Tamil Nadu, and the introduction of an interactive curriculum, Magic English. After the overview and orientation to the methodology, the administrators were chatting animatedly about implementation, acting like excited students themselves.
One of the unique aspects of the Joyful Reading project is that it engages stakeholders at multiple levels -teachers, administrators, and district education officers- and encourages them to focus on teaching reading skills through fun and interactive modules. The Karadi Path Education Company (KPEC) is leading the students and teachers in this process over a three year pilot project through the READ Alliance and supported by USAID. Over the next three years, over 900 teachers will be trained to accompany 31,000 students on the path to Joyful Reading and improved reading skills. The Joyful Reading project is built on the concept of developing strong listening skills as the base of developing reading and language skills.
Teacher trainings began immediately from the day after the launch, building on the energy and interest created at this event. Groups of 60-75 teachers came together to learn how to implement the Joyful Reading methodology and content in their classrooms with the guidance of KPECâ€™s master trainers and product specialists, who will support and mentor them over the academic year. The teacher trainings were filled with lively and engaging sessions where the trainers encouraged the teachers to think and act like energetic students in front of their classes, showing by example how to make reading fun. In small groups, teachers practiced leading the different modules: Reading, Story, Action, and Music Paths. Â Each of the Paths is built around a different way to practice reading and consume text. Karadi Path explains two of the Paths in detail, â€œThe Reading Path module introduces letter sounds, short phonetic words, and sight words, while the Story Path integrates expressively narrated stories, a richly-scored soundtrack, and illustrated books to promote the development of a childâ€™s listening and reading skills.â€
One of the most fun activities to observe was the group of teachers modeling a Story Path module by acting it out, complete with leafy props from the school yard and wild animal sound effects. Itâ€™s easy to imagine how much fun the students will have with these activities after watching a group of adult teachers fully engaged and committed in front of a group of their peers.
The READ Alliance is an initiative of the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at addressing the challenge of early reading in India. The Alliance represents a new approach to develop partnerships bringing together the public and private sectors on a multi-stakeholder platform, developing and fostering innovative and effective interventions in early reading. The Karadi Path Education Company is implementing one of the interventions currently supported by the READ Alliance. The other two implementation partners, Center for Learning Resources (CLR) and Quality Education Support Trust (QUEST) are based in rural Maharashtra and focus their reading interventions on student from rural, tribal communities.
Stay tuned from exciting implementation updates from the field!