A student in Class I at a city school reads out to those in Nursery and Kindergarten, while another in Class V reads out to the children in Classes III and IV.
Teachers keep telling children to read but when they see “one among them” doing so, it generates an interest in them to read and makes the one who is reading feel “empowered”.
Mahadevi Birla World Academy has started the system for the children in the pre-primary and primary sections, which is also giving the children a platform — online — to engage at a time when the Covid pandemic has put paid to all stage activities.
On Monday, a Class I student read out a story to the children in nursery. The girl, Iyana Biswas, also used props to tell her story.
The school every December devotes a day to a “reading partnership programme”, as part of which parents are invited to the campus to read with their children.
“This year we had to do something online but we wanted to do something that would generate and sustain the interest of the children. If they see one of their friends reading out to them, instead of an adult or a teacher, it will create an interest in them to read,” said Nupur Ghosh, the vice-principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
The school is calling the new activity “By the children, for the children”.
“The child who is facing the class also feels more empowered and confident,” said Ghosh.
The absence of physical classes have forced schools to alter the ways in which they would operate. The library classes, where children would be forced to flip through books, are no longer there.
“It is not that students are not reading at all, but the idea of reading books is becoming rare,” said Ghosh.
“If we tell them to find out about something, for example how to make a video, they are reading about it. But reading books have been replaced by reading online or reading PDFs. On some occasions, the library teacher finds it difficult to arrest the attention of the students online,” said Ghosh.
“Now all the activities are online…. The environment a student is exposed to during the library period cannot be replicated when they are attending the same class from home,” said Ghosh. Problems with internet connectivity and background noise often disturb the ambience, she said.
On-stage activities that help children shed their inhibitions are off because of the pandemic, a teacher of the school said.
“CBSE wants us to engage all children in activities, which was easier in the physical mode. Now we have to come up with activities that would involve more and more students,” the teacher said.