StoryWeaver’s World Book Day Celebration to #GetChildrenReading!

Posted by Sreemoyee Mukherjee on May 05, 2023

This World Book Day, we wanted to share the power of books to inspire children to be lifelong readers. Our aim? In many languages, and from far flung places, to #GetChildrenReading.

According to the ASER 2022 survey, 80% of children in third grade cannot read at second grade level. Yet by reading for as little as 30 mins every day, a child’s reading age can improve by nearly two years. Keeping that in mind, our #GetChildrenReading initiative aims to nuture children to become lifelong readers, by providing an endless stream of stories and bringing together a community of advocates for the joy of reading.

This year’s World Book Day theme was indigenous languages. Our impact partners brought some wonderful storytellers to the children they work with in underserved and indigenous languages. Our partners in Africa, African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) was specially attracted to the book, 'Mouse in the House', by Soumya Rajendran and held a translation sprint to make the book accessible in Akuapem Twi, Luganda, Ewe, Krio and more… to be read across the public libraries of Africa. Our partners Suchana, in Birbhum West Bengal read aloud 'The Very Wiggly Tooth' to a group of children in Santhali, one of the two official tribal languages in the country, and Kora, which is deemed to be an endangered linguistic community by UNESCO.

Vilas Janve, a renowned mime artiste, and Upendra ‘Annu’ were invited to read aloud by Gayatri Seva Sansthan in Mewadi and Vagadi. Promod Sahu, a Social Entrepreneur read aloud 'What Neema is Eating Today' in Chhattisgarhi. You can watch the incredibly lively sessions, as well as storytelling sessions in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English here.

For us, there is nothing more heartwarming than hearing children from Ghana and Kenya reading our stories in unison, or watching a child’s eye light up as he rushes to bring more of his friends on a sunday afternoon to listen to Seema Wahi’s animated reading of 'A Book for Puchku'.

Our aim however, is to make such moments an everyday occurrence. This celebration is a part of our ongoing #GetChildrenReading initiative, a six month long effort by StoryWeaver to bring together our partners, and the larger community of storytellers, parents, teachers and all those who believe in the power of reading to build the habit of reading in the lives of children around them. Find out more on how you can join us here.

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Taking Friendship and Curiosity to Classrooms

Posted by Remya Padmadas 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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Nayana Adarkar, a graduate in commerce, working as a Sr. SubEditor for Daily Bhaangarbhuin,  has published 3 poetry collections, 2 literary essays, a collection of short stories and 16 books for children. Her songs have been included in chilren's audio CDs and her poetry is a part of the Goa Higher Secondary syllabus as well as B.A. syllabus. One of her poems has been included in the  Maharashtra Higher Secondary Board syllabus.  She has received two awards for children's literature, six awards for her poetry and one for her for story collection. She is also the recipent of the  Goa State Yashodamini Award for Literature.

Nayana Adarkar, our Konkani enthusiast lovingly shares with us her many adventures in the World of Stories. She carries us along, right back to the very beginning of her wonderful tryst with poems and stories. We trot alongside as she tells us about how she became and remained the animated, child-like storyteller that she is (Touch Wood:)); how the audience kept changing through the different phases of the growing up years, to marriage, to motherhood - but the stories, they always remained by her side. 

We find ourselves eagerly listening in to our favourite Manikantan’s story as she narrates it to a room full of enthusiastic children…and just like her very young audience, we want to hear more and more stories from you, Nayana. Keep weaving magic with the stories, like only you can!

Join us, on this wonderful journey with Nayana… 

हांव भुरगेपणांत खूब मस्ते, भरपूर खावप, वाचप , अभिनय करप आनी नाच करप म्हाका आवडटालें. चांदोबा, काणयांची पुस्तकां, पेपर... हाची आवड निर्माण जाली ती म्हजी आजी आनी म्हज्या आज्याची भयण बा कडल्यान. बा मुंबय सावन गोंया येताली. तेन्ना आमी तिका म्हणप, बा, काणी सांग. तिणें मागीर म्हणप, काणी दिल्लीक बसल्या राणी आनी मागीर ती काणी सुरू करताली. म्हजी आवय शिवलिला, भगवतगिता बी वाचून दाखयताली तेंवूय कानार पडटालें. 

चवथेंत आसतना एकदां फॅमिली पिकनिकेक गेल्ले कडेन म्हजी पयली कविता जल्माक आयली. मागीर काणयो, नाटकुलीं. आमच्या बाबान वाड्या वयल्या भुरग्यां खातीर शाळा काडिल्ली. ते शाळेंत हांव भुरग्यांक काणयो सांगपाक वतालें. म्हजी वाचनाचे, अभिनयाचे आवडीक सारें मेळटालें. 

हांव व्हड जालें खरें पूण म्हज्यांतलें भुरगें तशेंच म्हज्या मनांत उरलें. तें पिकनिकेक, इश्ट-इश्टिणीं मदीं भायर येतालें आनी मस्तेंपणा करतालें. भुरगींय म्हजे कडेन म्हज्या सभावा खातीर ओडटाली. जायत्या जाणांक म्हज्या ह्या प्लस पॉयंटाचो अदमास आयलो. तीं म्हाका काणयो सांगपाक आपोवंक लागलीं. कोंकणी भाशा मंडळ, शाळा, क्लब, ग्रंथालय...

हांव भुरग्यां मदीं वता तेन्ना भुरगें जाता. आनी तेन्नाच म्हाका कळटा भुरग्यांक कितें जाय आसता. नव्यो नव्यो काणयो, तातूंत हांसप आसपाक जाय, नाटक आसपाक जाय, पूण शिकोवणी आसपाक जायना. तूं अशें कर, तशें कर म्हणल्यार भुरग्याक (आनी म्हज्यांतल्या भुरग्याकूय) राग येता. ते परस आडवळणान ती गजाल भुरग्यांच्या मनार घाली, जाल्यार तांकां दुसऱ्यांचे काणयेंतल्यान त्या गजालीचें म्हत्व कळटा. त्या भुरग्याच्यो चुकी आपल्या कडल्यानूय घडटात हें ताच्या लक्षांत येता. आपणें तशें केल्यार कितें जातलें हें नकळटा ताका समजता. आनी तें शाणो जाता. 

आतां भुरगीं कसली आसची काणी सांगपा खातीर हाका म्हजे नदरेन अर्थ ना. भुरगें भुरगेंच आसता. हां कांय जाणांची लेव्हल मातशी वेगळी आसूं येता. पूण भुरग्यांक मारप, बडोवप, मरप, दुख्ख जावप ह्यो गजाली आवडनात. चड करून त्या परिस्थितींतल्यान आयिल्ल्या भुरग्यांक. भुरग्यांच्या कलान घेवन तांकां काणयो सांगपाक म्हाका आवडटा. तांचे भशेन नाचून बी काणी सांगल्यार तांकां हांव मागीर तांच्यांतलें एक भुरगें कशें दिसता आनी तिवूंय मनमेकळीं काणयेचो आनंद घेतात. एक थर्ड पर्सन जावन तांचे मदीं काणी सांगूंक गेल्यार भुरगीं तुमकां आपणायनात. हो म्हजो अणभव.

म्हज्या भुरग्यांक काणी सांगता सांगता हांवूय काणयो घडयत गेलें. पेपरांत कामाक आसतना हांव बालसाहित्य विभाग सांबाळटालें. तेन्नाय म्हजे कडसून काणयो घडत गेल्यो. वट्ट 14 काणयांचे संग्रह जाले. आनीकूय काणयो घडटात. बालकविताय करतां. भाशा मंडळान म्हज्यो कविता सी.डी. खातीरूय घेतल्यात. हांव कथा, कविता वांगडा बालसाहित्यूय रचता. त्या बालसाहित्याचो बिंब प्रकाशन, आनी कुडचडें केंद्रांन पुरस्कार दिवन भोवमान केला.

हांव ज्या जाग्यार काणी सांगूंक वता थंय चडश्यो म्हज्यो काणयो सांगतां. आनी केन्ना केन्ना म्हाका आवडटात आनी भुरग्यांक सांगपाक म्हाका बरें पडटात, त्या काणयांतल्यान मनरिजवण जाताच पूण नवें गिन्यान मेळटा, तातूंतल्यान भुरग्यांच्यो भावनाय समजतात. अश्यो काणयो हांव घेता. म्हाका राजीव तांबे हांच्यो काणयो आवडटात. वेगळे तरेच्यो . जनावरांक, वस्तूंक मनशाच्या रुपान पेश करपी. मनिकंठन ही काणीय म्हाका आवडली. आयच्या धांवपळीच्या जगांत भुरगीं फकत अभ्यास, करियराच्या फाटल्यान घुस्पल्यांत. तांच्या मदल्यो भावनांय आमी पालक समजून घेनात. सैमाचीं तरेतरेचीं रुपां तांचे पसून पयस उरतात. तांचे मुखार आसता तें बेगडी टिव्ही, कंप्युटरा वयलें जग. हांवें मणिकंठनाची काणी भुरग्यांक सांगली आनी त्या भुरग्यां मदली मातयेची उदकाची , आजी-आजो हांची ओड पळोवन मन भरून आयलें. 

म्हजी इश्टीण रत्नान एकदीस आमनाबायचो फोन येतलो म्हूण सांगलें. आमनाबायन म्हजे मुखार तरातरांच्या काणयांचें भांडार दवरलें. आगळ्यो वेगळ्यो काणयो. वेगवेगळ्या लेखकांच्यो. तांचो अणवाद बी करतना मजा आयली.

Watch Nayana Adarkar in action: 


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