In celebration of the International Literacy Day on September 8, over a million children across nine states took part in a Read-a-Thon organized by Room to Read to promote a culture of reading among children.
Over 300 million people in India are illiterate, one of the largest numbers in the world. More concerning is the fact that even among the over 130 million children in primary schools, more than half of them are not able to read and write properly, thereby adding to the challenge of eradicating illiteracy. The draft National Education Policy has termed this as the “learning crisis”.
Sourav Banerjee, Country Director of Room to Read said, “Getting children hooked on to books sets them up on a path of continuous learning and future success“.
There is enough research to show that unless children develop foundational reading and writing skills early, it is going to negatively impact their future learning; learning to read is a necessary precondition for reading to learn. In the world today, Reading is also a 21stcentury life skill, which enables us to sift through loads of information in print (or digital versions) and make informed choices as an independent critical thinker.
Fortunately, today there is a better understanding of the challenges to illiteracy and evidence-based solutions exist that enable children to read and write. One of the most effective solutions to end illiteracy is to build a culture of reading; reading as a habit needs to be developed right from childhood.Organizations like Room to Read are working in government primary schools to develop foundational literacy among children. Room to Read’s literacy program aims to develop independent readers who have both the skills and a habit of reading. The program trains up grade 1 and 2 teachers on reading and writing pedagogy and helps set up school libraries to develop reading habits among children.
The Read-a-thon is expected to galvanize popular support for reading. On September 7, children in the nine Room to Read states spent an hour reading books from the library; teachers, education officials parents and police officials also joined these reading sessions at many places.
On this occasion Room to Read also launched the #PledgeReadingTime initiative. Through this, people are being requested to pledge time for reading out to children in their family, neighborhoods and community; post pictures of their reading on social media pages; and challenge three more people to take the reading pledge. The objective is to spread the word and encourage more and more people to join the reading campaign.
About Room to Read:
Room to Read has benefitted 4.3 million children in India since 2003 and set up more than 9,000 libraries so far. Room to Read intends to reach 13 million children by the end of 2024.
Room to Read is an international NGO with HQ in San Francisco, working in the field of education. Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools in low-income communities during two time periods that are most critical in a child’s schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls’ education. We work in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations, and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. Room to Read has benefited 16.6 million children across more than 30,000 communities in 16 countries. Learn more at www.roomtoread.org.
Room to Read India was established in 2003 and presently have programs in 11 states- Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Room to Read has benefited more than4.3 million children and set up more than 9000 libraries.