Tuesday September 24, 2019
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International Mother Tongue Day: Translate a little, Read a lot

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Bengaluru: “Every child should have access to good quality reading material in their own language.” And this was what Pratham Books’ Weave-a-Story campaign, set out to do in the genre of children’s stories on Sunday, which is also the International Mother Tongue Day.

The aforementioned quotation is taken from the words said by Suzanne Singh, who is the chairperson of the organization. Pratham Books started their journey around 11 years ago to introduce to the children from government schools, the joy of quality reading.

Pratham, which publishes in about 18 languages, launched StoryWeaver to provide the children with the opportunity to read, create, translate or download from the online platform.

Yamini Singh, from the department of Pratham Books, commented that the campaign wants more and more people to translate the plethora of stories in as many languages as possible. And until now the stories have been translated 113 times and in which 91 were in Indian languages like Mundari, Konkani, etc.

Purvi Shah, the Digital Projects division head told that over 2,000 stories were translated by the community. Adding that World Konkani Centre took up the Konkani segments while the volunteers from Sanskrit Bharati took up the Sanskrit ones.

Pratham had the desired effect by conducting workshops across the city; aiming to reach every last child. And the desired effect is that even educators are now using the contents.

To expand more, Pratham aspire to collaborate with other organizations in the near future to spread more literacy among the children.

They had already linked up with platforms like African Storybook Project, Bloom Library, and Worldread.(Inputs from agencies)

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One Up Library Brings Children Closer To Books

Bringing children back to books, the One Up way

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One Up Library in Vasant Vihar. IANS
One Up Library in Vasant Vihar promoting reading habits among children. IANS

With walls painted pearl white and bright mats covering the floor, it looks like a fancy showroom in an upmarket neighbourhood. But don’t get mistaken — it’s a library. And that too for children.

The One Up library in Vasant Vihar is like an oasis in the digital desert with 1-14 years old as members. It’s a rarity to find a neighbourhood library as today’s children are mostly engaged in online passions, having little time for reading books.

Dalbir Kaur, founder of One Up, believes in the old school way of making children aware. Started in Amritsar in 2011 as the Golden City’s first modern library, One Up travelled to Delhi in 2017.

Dalbir believes the 21st-century children need spaces beyond schools that specifically focus on critical reading and thinking; promoting curiosity, collaboration & conversations, and community-building.

“The conventional libraries could not stand the effect of time, especially when everything is available online. But it’s important that children visit libraries to explore literature, develop their reading tastes,” she told IANS.

Dalbir said to draw teenagers towards books and promote less usage of technology, a revolutionary change was required in the way libraries looked and felt. She brought the concept of active reading, where children are guided by trained helpers who themselves read a lot.

“It’s important to have attractive interiors with an active librarian. The librarian or the attendants must be active and knowledgeable about the books and should be avid readers themselves,” Dalbir said.

Bringing children back to books
Motivating children to read books and cultivating reading habits amongst children in One Up library. Pixabay

Since the readers are children, Dalbir herself goes through every book that is to be added to the library to remove all the chances of inappropriate content. Her team also organises weekly activities, like ‘read-out-loud’, ‘draw what you read’, interaction with authors and quizzes after a reader finishes his/her book. All of this is conducted on the first floor of the building, which is now full of drawings and charts created by readers as part of their activity.

The initiative has gained popularity as the library now has over 200 children as members and the number is rising every day. Some members even come from Noida and Gurugram to read books — just for an hour or two.

The positive changes have also begun to flow as Dalbir has been approached by several educational institutions to curate their libraries and train their teachers. By now she has helped over 20 schools to curate their libraries and train librarians.

Also Read: Google Assistant Soon be Able to Read Messages from Whatsapp, Slack and Telegram

Dalbir does not charge anything from a school for curating a library. She holds workshops for teachers and librarians, advice on steps to innovate and initiating non-readers.

She has now launched an award, which will attract nationwide entries, for excellence in best practices in a nurturing learning environment. Entries could be sent till September 5. (IANS)