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An important component of OELP’s Foundation Programme for Early literacy and Learning is the Varna Samooha approach.This approach has been developed to make decoding a meaningful process. This pictorial presentation has tried to provide and overview of the classroom processes and underlying thinking of OELP’s Varna Samooha approach.

Recent research has highlighted that the first one or two years in school are extremely important for facilitating a successful transition from home to school, especially for young learners whoa re from diverse social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. this is more so in the case of children who do not have access and exposure to reading and writing experiences in their early childhood years. This paper presents the field work based experience and insights arrived at over the past few years within OELP.

On behalf of my organisation I wish to thank UNESCO Bangkok for the privilege of this opportunity for sharing our education innovations at this Asia Summit. These education innovations have aimed at developing a conceptually sound and effective Foundation Programme for Early Literacy and Learning with a well defined and simple framework that allows the flexibility to address the individual needs of young learners. Our focus has been on pedagogy and classroom processes which have been arrived at through sustained engagement with the ground over a period of time. We have also tried to engage with some of the multiple perspectives through which early literacy and learning are being viewed within current literature. Through this modest effort we have been constantly reminded of the words of the Chairperson of the National Reading Panel.

In July 2014, the Organisation for Early Literacy Promotion (OELP) piloted a two-year foundation programme for early literacy and learning in 15 rural government primary schools situated in the Silora block of Ajmer district,
Rajasthan. The programme covered 381 children from class 1 and 414 children from class 2. This report presents a brief overview of the first year of its implementation.

The journey of the early literacy programme has unfolded through a sustained and intensive engagement inside classrooms and through engagement with children, teachers, parents and communities over a period of eight years. The approaches and classroom practices within the programme have evolved in organic ways, with
new components replacing older ones as we gain fresh insights. We are inclined to view this process as a knowledge-building exercise with a focus on building the qualitative aspects of the programme.

What are the comprehension strategies used to help students to read with understanding?

The context in which this article is being written is during a country-wide speculation on whether or not children actually learn in school.

Sixty odd years after attaining independence, we still find large numbers of school going children in India who rote learn their way through school, and for all practical purposes cannot be said to be independent readers and writers. This paper focuses on the special needs of children who do not have support for
reading and writing at home, and who require support for enabling a smooth and meaningful transition from the oral cultures in their homes and social worlds to the print based cultures of school.

As far back as in 1993, the Yashpal Committee in its report on Learning without Burden highlighted the meaningless and joyless nature of school based learning in India, and strongly raised the issue of non comprehension in the classroom. Since then there have been several initiatives for Elementary Education, which have included the macro District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and the more recent and mammoth Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Over the years the discourse on “quality of education” has also got louder; yet we find large numbers of school going children in this country continue to rote learn their way through school and for all practical purposes cannot be said to be independent readers and writers at the end of elementary school. This continues to be a matter of grave concern…

Within the last two decades Elementary Education in India has seen the emergence and entrenchment of ambitious macro programmes like the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), and the more mammoth Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The canvas of Elementary Education that is being looked at through these programmes is vast, diverse and complex.

There is a magic in sharing moments with a young child who is completely absorbed in a book….lost to the world around….wandering through terrains that the written words and pictures unravel! Such is the power of the written words.

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005) articulates the vision of a State that seeks to universalize schooling and address key contemporary education issues. In a textually mediated global world, which is being driven more and more by the printed word, access to script based literacy is one such important key issue.

Early Literacy Project’s word recognition activities were previously published in Sandarbh. Along with these activities, there is a need to create an environment in the class that promotes a deep and meaningful relationship between children and the written word.

The Early Literacy Project is an attempt to help build a foundation for learning to read and write in young children.

The Early Literacy Project is an intervention to support Hindi learners. In the first part of this paper, the theoretical concerns were discussed. In this second part, the experiences of working within classrooms of a few government schools is presented. These included linguistically controlled interventions for beginners, which aimed to build strong foundations in phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge and skills of meaning constructions in keeping with natural pre-dispositions and the out-of-school languages and experiences of learners.

Recent literature in Early Literacy has highlighted a profound correlation between social background and literacy levels and the consequent implication of learners from some social contexts, in having greater difficulty in learning to read and write than others. Children are viewed as active participants in the process of learning. They learn social rules of meaning at home and then extend these social rules to the texts encountered in school.