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Written by Parag Team
The library educator’s certificate course (LEC) organized by Parag kicked off on May 23rd. The five days of contact (May 23-27) were enriching, encouraging, participatory and exhausting. Participants came from as near as Abu Road and as far as UP and Uttarakhand. A few participants stepped out of their hometowns for the first time, as they made their way to Sirohi, Rajasthan otherwise famous for Mt. Abu. Sirohi also has a public library nestled in a beautiful heritage building. One section of the library now houses a children’s corner, where the LEC contact sessions were hosted.
Among participants, there was a healthy mix of those who spoke their mind and the quiet ones who took some time opening up. The mix of faculty and mentors was equally eclectic and rich with many years of experience working with children, books and reading. Since this is a residential course, faculty, mentors and participants got to interact beyond the sessions, over dinner and breakfast.
Participants, faculty and mentors debated on the appropriate meaning of the word ‘library’. Is a library an exclusive space? Is a library anywhere a child reads a book? Multiple other debates ensued from sessions over the five days that continued over dinner. What is a good book? What does censorship mean in a child’s world? When is the right age to share electronic media with a child, if at all? How do we curate our library collection? Inclusion in literature was a huge gap area identified, as participants pinned the geographic locations of the stories they read over the week on a map.
With games, role play, energisers and poems there was never a dull moment. Theory was balanced with activities, which gave participants an opportunity to try out what they had read. Alternatively, activities were organized and then connected to academic reading to establish ideas and concepts. Participants made their own library cards, borrowed and read a variety of books. They discussed the stories and gave book talks. They wrote their daily journals about the day’s experience and a few shared the same.
The sessions gave participants and faculty food for thought and had many reflecting on their current library practices. There was much anxiety about choosing, writing and submitting assignments during the distance mode. Since many came from far flung areas with intermittent or no internet connectivity, apprehension was high on the use of Moodle, the course’s technology interface, where they can participate in group discussions, start discussions and keep in touch. But if you are a participant and reading this blog you have nothing to worry about!
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Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of my work in Bookworm is that I get to share our experiences in a learning environment with other people.
I was in Yadgir District in North East Karnataka doing a workshop for 50 ‘animators’ who will open library rooms in 50 Government schools and the joy of sharing books, book related activities and story telling pedagogies leaves me exhilarated at the most exhausting times.
Kalike ( www.kalike.org) is a Tata Trusts initiative that works in education, health, water sanitation and livelihood in the region and a harder working team is perhaps hard to find ! I was honoured to be a part of the library growth opportunity with my friend and co library educator Usha Mukunda.
We worked hard as we are want to do every time we are paired together, but often bring out the best in each other and the participants. From the first day, we sensed a group that was very engaged, open to discussion and questioning ( critical library educator features we watch for) and eager to learn.
We explored books through a variety of library games and energised ourselves with sharing, book exchanges, scribble mural to decorate our library and understanding about ways of building and strengthening relationships with books.
I feel my last few days were enriching and spent well and as ever I am grateful for this journey of crawling with bookworms in different corners of this country.
Originally posted at Bookworm’s website.
“Pradeep Dhekale, Librarian of Kamala Nimkar Bal Bhavan School in Phaltan has shared his experience of getting children to write . He got students from grade 3 to write in response to interesting photos in the newspaper as a trigger, igniting desire to become writers, by engaging with their writing process, sharing of writing in the classroom as well as displaying it on the board for it to be read by other children. In the process, the blog captures role of an library educator who actively plans and draws children in the process of sense making and expression”
Pradeep Dhekale (Librarian)
Kamala Nimbkar Bal Bhavan School (Phaltan)
मे महिन्याच्या सुट्ट्या संपत आल्या होत्या. आता शाळा सुरु होणार. शाळेच्या पहिल्या दिवशी इयत्ता ३ री चा तास होता. त्यासाठी काहीतरी नवीन करून घेतले पाहिजे होते. जेणे करून मुले त्यात रमणार होती. मग मी ४ /५ दिवसात वर्तमानपत्रातील मला जी चित्र आवडतील व त्या चित्रावरून मुलांना काही लिहिता येईल अशी चित्रे गोळा करण्यास सुरवात केली. ती चित्रे मी एका फुलस्केप पेपरवर चिकटवली. आता माझी पहिल्या दिवसाची तयारी झाली ह्याचा मलाच आनंद झाला.
मी सुरवातीला विचारले “कोणाला लेखक होण्यास आवडेल.” सगळ्यांनी झटकन हात वर केले. मग मी मुलांना ते फुलस्केप पेपर वाटले. मुलांनी काय करायचे ते समजावून संगीतले.
मुलांनी पेपर हातात पडताच लिहीण्यास सुरवात केली. काही मुले चित्रात रमून गेली. माझ्या लक्षात असे आले की ज्ञानेश्वरीला जे चित्र मिळाले होते त्या चित्रात एक इमारत होती जिचे प्रतिबिंब पाण्यात पडलेले होते व ती इमारत पाण्यात उलटी दिसत होती. मी तिला विचारले “तू इमारत पडल्याचे का लिहिले आहेस ?” ती पटकन म्हणाली “ सर… आम्ही बारामतीला जाताना डोळ्यासमोर प्रत्यक्ष इमारत पडताना बघितली आणि ह्या चित्रात देखील इमारत उलटी म्हणजे पडल्यासारखीच वाटत आहे,”
काही मुलांनी त्यावरून कविता लिहिल्या, त्या आम्ही तासाला वाचून घेतल्या. काही बोर्डवर लावल्या. मुले येता जाता वर्णन वाचत होती. त्यातील लेख जोडला आहे.
Written by Shivani Bajaj
There is a reading which may not in the technical sense of the word qualify for reading, but it is making sense of sorts. Children as young as 4 years walk in to the Book Reading Club at times, (though formally the age group is meant to be 6-10 years). Then they grow in years and in stories and books.
Parth, who has been an infrequent but interesting visitor to the book club, first came sometime in 2012, when he was four and a half years old. A year younger that the youngest member. Something unique about him was that he never said “I have not read this book”. If asked whether he would like to share the story with everyone, he said, “Sure”. Off he went narrating a story out of a book he had never read, heard or for that matter even seen before. He would go one page at a time, building up alongside, adding from stories he had heard, sometimes skipping pages if they did not match his story idea.
One day after flipping through 4 books, he just sat looking for a book he had not ‘read’before. Out of curiosity, i asked him if he had seen ‘Mein Bhi’(Eklavya) before? “Yes,”came the reply as usual. ”My mamma told me this story.”“Oh,great, so can you tell me the story?”“Sure, there were two ducklings, one was yellow and the other different. The different one was blue. The blue one would not even swim with her sister and mother. She wandered away somewhere. Then a man took care of her. Then she saw some swans one day…”(Ugly Duckling??) Having heard his story, i moved on to ‘Billi ke Bachche’(Eklavya). “This one, have you read this one?”“Yes, yes, two of the kittens go to Delhi…, isn’t that the one?”“And then what happens?”I am interested. “Er..eh..the third one does not go.”“Ok, so he stays back?”“Yes, he stays back, he is the youngest.”“And then?”Then he turned the pages and said, “in delhi, they enter a pipe trying to catch a frog.” “Oh, the third one also joined them?”I try a bit of cross-questioning. “No, that’s the kitten they met in delhi and she showed them how to go through the pipe”…and the story went on. Once in a while, i would read out to him, pointing out words here and there.
In March 2014, Parth turned six and in the new academic year, he went to class 2. All this while he had been going through his formal training of learning the alphabet, reading stories in school textbooks. He would come to the book club at least twice out of four times in the month. I did not pay much attention to him individually for a while. He would still pick up books and flip through them. On a friday (book club day) in June 2014, i decided to see how much of the text he could read. Since he preferred Hindi, i decided on ‘Kyunji Beta Ramsahay’(again Eklavya), which has 4-line rhymes written in a nice big font. I was surprised to see that he could read quite well. He would often mix up maatras. ‘AA’maatra would be “AE’and even ‘EE’maatra would be ‘AE’at times. But being a hindi speaker he figured out the word, corrected himself and read on in most cases. After reading about three such rhymes, he started losing patience. Now, ‘baithe”became ‘bade’and ‘laddu’became ‘ladka’just by reading the first alphabet and ‘getting a sense of the other alphabets’, as it were, in the word; but true to his nature, he did not leave out a single word!
The desire to read and tell had always been very great. He even used the tools of prediction and previous knowledge (from books and otherwise) quite well. In fact it was with the help of these two things that he read all the pictures and conjured up a story. This, in turn, led to a deepening of the desire to read. A year and a half later, when Parth had more tools like knowing the alphabet, exposure to text, listening to stories, figuring out words, sometimes by spelling, some by context and some by recognition, he was able to ‘read’and read quite well. Had the initial ‘fire’in him been missing, what would have been the quality and extent of reading within this one year, would there have been any desire at all to read, are questions that are worth exploring. But he had moved on – now if you ask him if he has read a story, he does not immediately say “yes”, instead he looks at it, flips through it, reads a line or two and sometimes says yes and sometimes says no.
Recently I took a day off to be among the first to enter the branch of the Washington DC Public Library that has opened right across my street. I had been eagerly awaiting the moment and when I finally entered the place, I was not disappointed.
Nor was I surprised. The US public library system is pretty predictable in its offerings. In whichever branch of the library in whatever part of the country, you can always expect a homecoming of sorts, peace amidst the din outside. If the rest of the world must imitate the US, I mused, instead of copying its bullying foreign policy or its increasing rightwards tilt in matters economic, we would do well to pick up one of its truly socialist and inclusive traditions – the open and easy access to cake for the mind.
Read the rest of the article at Economic and Political Weekly