Teach for India Diaries 5

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
This is one of my favorites quotes just for the sheer travel it takes you on in your mind through everything that you have ever read or every place that you have ever traveled to! 
I use it as a corollary because not reading is like not travelling to unknown lands and not travelling is like not reading at all. This got me thinking about how a whole new world opened up for me when i started reading. As for most people who create a parallel world in an imaginary dimension when they read. 

I recently watched the movie “Good Will Hunting”. For most of you who have seen it might know that ‘Will Hunting’ the protagonist lives a very basic life educating himself on a myriad of subjects ranging from the works of Shakespeare to organic chemistry by simply reading! There is a dialogue in the movie where he argues with a harvard graduate about
how he will realize later in life that he spent a hundred and fifty thousand dollars on an education that he could have got for a dollar and fifty cent membership at the public library. I dont know why that stuck with me. But come to think of it makes so much sense. We all pay a huge amount of money to institutions to make us study or read books that if we were otherwise interested in could and would read on our own! 
Of course you might argue about the fact that at the end of it there is a degree that one takes home along with an exclusive network of people you create aound you. Agreed.
But what really hit home for me was the fact that given the inclination we all can learn just about anything by just reading!
This is the powerful tool i want to leave my kids with after these two years. The ability to be able to learn just about anything, on their own.The kids love listening to stories but when they are asked to read on their own, they find it highly cumbersome. Mostly because the words feel alien to them. Unfortunately the vocabulary these 6 year olds isn’t enough to sometimes even read the title of a book! As a result they feel highly frustrated when they have to sit with a book. 

After four months with 6 year olds you realise that if you make even the most mundane thing like reading a book dramatic enough, they fall for it!
So we created our very own ‘Superstars library’! We decorated the library together one rainy afternoon and after it was all set up we cuddled in near it and i read out a story to them.
There are leveled reading books for each level of readers so they know that it isn’t that difficult to finish reading a book 🙂 Each kid has his own book report folder where they 
wirte about the title of the book, the author, what they liked in the book and all the new words they learnt. They also get to illustrate the scenes from the book. Kids who love drawing, love this section of the report form.
This instantly bonded them to this particular corner in the classroom where it was just their space. Their very own gateway to the world that is possible which really gives them an opportunity to explore their imagination beyond horizons. Our big goal is to read 20 books and review them by the end of march next year 🙂 Some kids have taken to reading like fish to water and of course there are still those who only like looking at the pictures. But what i want my kids to take away from this is the magic of imagination! To exist, one must create and to create one must imagine first 🙂

Leaving you with some snapshots of the superstar library, a snapshot of an article on corruption written by ‘Sayaji’ and the hope that we all travel to endless horizons and read our book till the very end 🙂

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