On International Literacy Day, Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver launches Foundational Literacy Programmes in Marathi and joins hands with SCERT Maharashtra and UNICEF to give children in the remote areas of Maharashtra access to reading resources

 Mumbai: StoryWeaver (www.storyweaver.org.in), an initiative of Pratham Books, a not-for-profit publisher, is marking International Literacy Day with the launch of 2 Foundational Literacy Programmes in Marathi, and a special initiative for children in remote areas of Maharashtra in partnership with SCERT (Maharashtra) and UNICEF.

International Literacy Day is observed annually on September 8, as a reminder of the importance of literacy as a human right. The theme this year focuses on making technology-enabled literacy learning more inclusive and building for education during and beyond the pandemic. With 1 out of 2 children unable to read at grade level (ASER 2019), India’s need for foundational literacy could not be more vital. In the last year, due to the challenges of the pandemic, education systems have also had to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning, further amplifying the urgent requirement for easy-to-use foundational reading resources. The National Education Policy 2020 and NIPUN Bharat guidelines have made it a national mission to achieve foundational literacy for all children by Grade 3.

As a response, StoryWeaver has launched 2 Foundational Literacy Programmes in Marathi (in-classroom and at-home) to build early reading fluency and comprehension for children in Grades 1 to 3. The in-classroom Programme offers levelled storybooks, with associated lesson plans, book discussion questions and video training materials for educators. Keeping in mind the requirements for remote learning resources, StoryWeaver has also created a Read@Home version of the Programme, which offers levelled storybooks in a suggested reading order and worksheets with language learning outcomes aligned to NIPUN Bharat guidelines. The Programmes can be deployed in multiple ways while keeping in mind the child’s context (online or offline, at-home or in-classroom). The Programme resources are free to use online on StoryWeaver. The Programmes can also be deployed via print.

Purvi Shah, Senior Director – StoryWeaver and Strategy, Pratham Books, says, “Children, educators and caregivers have been coping with the challenges of school closures for the last 17 months, while trying to ensure the continuity of learning. The National Education Policy aims at achieving foundational literacy for all children by 2025. Access to high-quality, easy-to-use foundational reading resources and strong partnerships can help us accelerate progress, and the launch of StoryWeaver’s Foundational Literacy Programmes is our commitment towards this ambitious goal.”

StoryWeaver has joined hands with SCERT (Maharashtra) and UNICEF to reach children who do not have regular access to the Internet at home, and keep them engaged during school closures. A special Read@Home print pack has been created for children in Grades 1 and 2, curated with the help of SCERT and UNICEF, using resources from StoryWeaver’s Foundational Literacy Programme. The pack consists of storybooks, associated worksheets, links to audio-visual books and supplementary materials. 25,000 packs will be distributed to children in the remote districts of Gadchiroli and Nandurbar. Additionally, a capacity-building exercise will be undertaken for more than 1000 teachers, to help support the Read@Home intervention.

Reshma Agarwal, Education Specialist at UNICEF says, “We are delighted to partner with SCERT and Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver on this Read@Home print pack initiative – we hope that it will act as a first step for building a lifelong habit of reading.”

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