7th March was World Read Aloud Day - don't you just love the sound of that name? When Pratham Books announced this a few weeks back and asked for Champions to conduct reading sessions all over India, I immediately volunteered. After all reading is one of my favourite activities, and one I try hard to inculcate in my children. So reading aloud to a group of children seemed like my cup of tea :).
I later realized that it was a weekday, so it would be a bit of a task to try to gather children together in the evening, what with all being busy with their hobby classes and their homework. So I went along and asked Neetha Harish who's the Director of Siksha Montessori House of Children that S goes to, if I could do the reading session at their school. She is always open to interesting activities, and also a fan of Pratham Books, so she immediately agreed too and I was all set :).
I received this lovely book called Yakity Yak
a few days before the big day, and spent time going over it a couple of times trying to figure out how to make it more interesting for children to listen to. The book is all about a little Yak who (you might have guessed it!) talks a lot and makes a lot of friends because of it :)!
On 7th morning, I landed up bright and early at Siksha, and immediately got into reading to the first group of about 20 children. Now this was my learning group, as I realized that reading the story verbatim was not enough to engage the attention of children as young as 3 years old. With some sound effects (Whoo Whoo Whooooosh!) and showing the pictures while I was narrating, they seemed to understand the story, and asked questions and responded to discussions along the way.
I read to 4 groups of children over the morning, totally about 80-90 children I think, and I like to think I did a bit better with each passing group ;). As they also had Holi celebration in school the same day, we didn't have time to get into any follow-up activity to the story. But I left the book with them, and Neetha will try to have some art/drawing sessions based on the story within the next few days. I will scan and add the results to this post soon :). Below are some photos of the children, one of them taken later as I missed it out on the same day.
For me, it was a wonderful experience, and a learning one definitely as I have never before tried to engage the attention of a varied large group of children. Kudos to the teachers who manage to do this every day of their teaching careers, and in my personal experience the teachers at Siksha excel at it! Thanks to Pratham Books for coming up with this wonderful initiative to introduce more children to the world of books and reading, and may they carry on with publishing many more such interesting and engaging stories for children of all ages.