September is a special month for us at Pratham Books, especially September 8th! International Literacy Day, not only marks our annual storytelling event One Day, One Story, but it is also the day StoryWeaver was launched. 

When we launched, our goal was  to create a participatory framework where content creators and users could collaborate with each other to create joyful reading material in multiple languages. We believed this would have a multiplier effect to address the scarcity of multilingual reading resources that exists in India.

The last two years have been an amazing journey. When StoryWeaver was launched, we offered 800 stories in 24 languages. Today, the platform is a buzzing hub of over 4700 in 91 languages. What makes StoryWeaver a truly special place though is our community. The authors, illustrators, translators, editors, art directors, teachers, librarians, literacy organisations and parents who are helping Pratham Books strive towards our mission of 'a book in every child's hand.'

It's the stories, videos and photographs from these passionate and committed folks that keep us going. Non-profits like Suchana and the Azad India Foundation, translating stories to tribal languages and dialects for the children they work with. Organisations like Pragat Shikshan Sanstha, Tamarind Tree and Akanksha curating reading lists and creating digital libraries for teachers and students. Edtech companies like mGuru who gamify our content for mobile learning apps, and Bookshare who is creating audio and braille books for print impared students. These are just a few examples of  the amazing things openly licensing content can achieve. And how can we not mention the many individuals who are creating magic on the platform every day with the stories they create and translate?

To each of you who are a part of our community, a big, big, big THANK YOU! 

Here's to more stories, in more languages, reaching more children! 

 

 

 

 

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StoryWeaver in Singaara Chennai

Posted by Khyati Datt on September 08, 2017

Khyati Datt writes about the recent StoryWeaver workshop  with teachers, librarians, social workers and storytellers in Chennai.

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is known as the gateway to South India and is home to many organisations doing exemplar work in the education space. StoryWeaver has a number of partners in the city and we  were motivated to connect with more such organisations. This brought us to Chennai to conduct a StoryWeaver workshop, our very first in the city.  We invited various organisations and individuals that worked with children with an idea to discuss how learning and reading can go hand-in-hand.

40 participants, from 15 different organisations joined us for a day of discussions, storytelling and creating stories of their own. Some of the organisations that we got to interact with were Vidyarambam Trust, India Literacy Project, Isha Vidhya, Katha on Ratha, Communities Rising and Pratham Education Foundation .  It was wonderful  to see that they were as excited about the workshop as we were.

The workshop began with a quick round of introductions and a question- What would you have been doing, if you had not been working with children?  The answers we got were interesting and really creative!  We then spoke about Pratham Books and started the demo of the StoryWeaver platform. We had a storyteller in the audience who volunteered to do a spontaneous story reading session and made all of us think of creative answers to her questions and ensured that there were lots of giggles.

Storytelling in action

The participants then tried their hand at using StoryWeaver  by curating a reading list for a specific theme. Some of the themes they worked with were life skills and nature. Throughout the course of the session, the participants shared with us anecdotes from the field and why they think stories are important. Their takeaway from this task were the different ways in which stories can be used to teach themes and engage with children.

The participants then moved on to the most creative part of the session, the part where they create stories. One of the stories explored a child’s imagination of his dream school, with lollypops growing on trees. Everyone was excited about letting their imagination run wild and presented their thoughts and process behind their stories.

Nelson from Communities Rising shares the story he created at the workshop.

We  introduced the audience to the kind of stories that are hosted on StoryWeaver, the different ways in which these stories can be used with children and how other organisations are using the platform. Along with the participants, we mapped the different kinds of books on the StoryWeaver platform to the Listening-Speaking-Reading-Writing(LSRW) framework of Language Development and a discussion ensued with the participants about it. The participants shared their ideas on how they think stories can be used in a classroom and the ways in which children can be introduced to difficult concepts using stories.

The session ended with inspiring videos about individuals using stories to get children excited and  pushing them to think out of the box.

A big thank you to all our participants for being patient and interacting with us and each other throughout!

To see more pictures from the workshop, click here

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Taking Friendship and Curiosity to Classrooms

Posted by Menaka Raman on September 07, 2017

Zeba Imtiaz, Assistant Editor, Pratham Books writes about her experience at a recent storytelling session at Citizens High School, Bangalore.

We recently accompanied Roopa Pai, author and editor of a formidable number of STEM books, on a story telling session at Citizens High School in Bangalore. The STEM books have been written and created with support from Oracle, and the event was organised with the help of our partner organisation - Mantra4Change. The intent of these sessions is to bring creators and readers together to read stories, play games, and most importantly, learn more from each other.

Last weekend found us at the gates of the school, listening to the chirpy voices of the only other bunch of humans who can be as excited as us about a working Saturday morning – school going children. Citizens School, located on Davis Road, Bangalore, is an English medium school for children from low income families, and has a building for the primary section, and another building down the road for the senior kids.

Roopa had chosen to read ‘How Old is Muttajji?’ to a class of 6th graders in the senior school building. This is a story about two enthusiastic twin detectives trying to deduce the age of their great grandmother from various events in her life. And we decided to go along with ‘Same Same or Different’, a story of a sparrow and a snake who try to show their parents they can be friends despite their obvious differences, for a class of 4th graders.

In Grade 6th, Roopa had 35 kids on the edge of their benches wondering along with Putta and Putti what is their Muttaji’s real age. Gathered in their ancestral home in Mysore, the twins used History, Mathematics and General Knowledge to come to the exact birthday their great grandmother was celebrating! The kids were amused, intrigued and fascinated by the interesting bits of history spread through the book and the twins’ investment in cracking the clues.  After the story, Roopa quizzed the children on Indian history. The class was divided into groups and their knowledge on India’s history and culture was tested. There was a lot of competition and guess work in the air (not to say noise!) and  the session ended on a high with all the energy from the children!

We projected and read out the story  ‘Same Same or Different’  to the very excited class of 4C in a charming library on the sunshine-filled terrace of the school. The colourful characters, the emotions, and the very real problem of your friend not being approved of by your parents, made the story come alive for the kids and us. After some impassioned reactions to the parenting skills of Mama Sparrow and Papa Snake, we moved onto our activity for the day. The kids partnered up with whoever was seated next to them, and were given coloured pens and activity sheets. The activity sheet had a venn diagram, exactly like the one Sparrow and Snake use in the story. The kids talked to their partners about their hobbies, favourite foods and games and colours, and birthdays, and filled in what was common to both of them, and what was different. We then counted our ‘same-sames’ and ‘differents’ and talked about whether that affected our relationships, and whether that was even an important thing to consider.

After multiple photographs, viewings of activity sheets, and thank yous, we ended our session with many learnings on how kids view their friendships and parental relationships.

You can see more pictures from the sessions on the StoryWeaver Flickr Account.

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