Gujarat has been using the English reading and comprehension tool consistently for two years. Classes are held regularly and schools echo with the sound of children reading with ReadToMe™ (RTM). Te…
Gujarat has been using the English reading and comprehension tool consistently for two years. Classes are held regularly and schools echo with the sound of children reading with ReadToMe™ (RTM). Teachers and students do not like to miss a RTM class. I attended a school that was even taking class while an inter-school sports day was going on outside!
In Gujarati medium schools, English is first taught in class 5. By class 6, the students are expected to read long paragraphs as well as write lengthy exams. Almost every child has to resort to extra tuition and coaching to keep up. This is prior to when ReadToMe™ was introduced in the classroom.
The teachers use the tools to provide in depth explanations, line by line. They focus on building extensive comprehension abilities of their students and all the teachers have remarked on the improvement they have seen. The teachers are especially thankful for the slow speeds (the software enables teachers to adjust reading speed based on English proficiency of students). “In the class the students who are good in studies will always read confidently. The best part is that with RTM even the weaker students get encouraged and learn from their peers” said Kanani Vallabh the English teacher in Vastrapur Primary School No 2 in Ahmedabad.
The students in Gujarat are wonderful, kind and very quick learners. When quizzed after class, most of the students could answer questions and would even help their classmates to catch up. In not one but two schools I was told by the teachers that there are students who know more about RTM than they do and often take class themselves!
In Gujarat, the desire to learn English is strong. Shivani, a student of Dholakuva Primary school in Gandhinagar tells us how her elder brother never got a chance to study English and how he encourages her to study hard and do well in the subject, for the both of them. The children’s dreams and spirits are even stronger. Priyanka, a student of class 6 says her dream is to become a Pilot. “I’ve always wanted to sit on a plane but not as a passenger, as the person driving.”
The sky is the limit with RightToRead!
In Coimbatore, sunshine was not just limited to the good weather, but was found in every government school classroom. Beaming, confident faces looked back at us every time we entered a school. The …
In Coimbatore, sunshine was not just limited to the good weather, but was found in every government school classroom. Beaming, confident faces looked back at us every time we entered a school. The children came up to us and had full conversations in English. They asked us about our lives, interests, dreams and aspirations as well as our fears. We had to take time and think of answers to some of the questions!
The teachers were unlike any we had seen in any other state. They effortlessly integrated ReadToMe™ in the class and encouraged the participation of each and every student. Every class we would visit would have the teacher using our product to the best of his/her capabilities and knowing just what would help each individual child to understand a new word or sentence. Each teacher had different praises to bring to the table when they spoke of the EnglishHelper™ reading solution. “ReadToMe™ has helped even the weak and average students to read. RTM is especially helpful for memory poems. In the first term exams, almost everyone got full marks in the memory poem section, because they learned using RTM!” said N. Selvabarathi, the English teacher of Corporation Girls High School, Selvapuram. We even had senior students of the same school come and request us to have RTM for them as well (RTM is present only for students from class 6-8 in Coimbatore). They told us how much RTM had helped them and how much they missed it.
“Students in my school come from a very poor background and do not have televisions, computers or cell phones at home. They see ReadToMe™ as a wonder and come to class with enthusiasm and excitement.” said Anbuselvi, the Principal of Corporation Girls High School, Selvapuram.
Another interesting trend I found in Coimbatore was that the teachers encouraged the students to come up and use the software themselves. Gnana Selvi from Corporation High School, R.S. Puram West uses a trick of asking her weaker students to manage the software so that they pay more attention and feel motivated. Lalita from Corporation High School, Maniyakaranpalayam askes her students to come up and solve their doubts themselves and thus most of her class can operate RTM on their own!
The conversations we had with the students made us wonder if we thought like them at that age. Nagaveni a student of class 8 said she wanted to study English because “there is a view that English is only for English medium students. I want to break that myth and show that even government school children can do well in English! Before RTM we used to study only the questions at the back for the exam and by heart the answers. Now we can answer any question you ask us!” Alex, told us about his dream to be an Olympic volleyball player. “He used to be so naughty that he would spend days in the principal’s office but after RTM he has had a great interest in learning. He is always attentive in class now” said his teacher. Harinarayan a student of class 7 surprised us with her message to other students all across India “do not let the fear of difficult classes make you not come to school. Continue studying and work hard. Don’t give up!”
We won’t give up on our goal either – to touch the lives of one million students across 8 states with RightToRead!