Aiyaz's Story: A Newfound Love of Learning
In the Khuldabad district of Maharashtra, through the pink walls of a government school building, a bell clangs faintly, signifying the end of lunch break. Upon hearing this, some children rush back into their classrooms while others head for Pratham’s learning camps in the courtyard.
Archana, the Pratham coordinator, playfully chats with the children while setting up the camp. Here, children who are struggling or unable to read are taught basic reading skills with the aid of interactive activities. “Learning camps” were initiated by Pratham as part of its Read India program as an accelerated way to help children reach simple learning goals in reading and math.
The children sit in a circle with Archana in the center. Their books are open to a story about a mango tree. “Who will read to us?” asks Archana. A number of hands go up. She selects Aiyaz, an active participant in the class, and as he reads aloud, the other children follow by running their fingers over the words.
When Aiyaz first came to the Pratham camp, he could barely recognize the letters of the alphabet. In Grade 5, Aiyaz went from one class to another without showing much interest or improvement. He lacked confidence and always sat at the back of the classroom. After participating in three learning camps, today Aiyaz can not only read stories but also loves to invent his own.
Archana asks the children to circle their favorite words from the story and jot them down on the board, one by one. Then the students make sentences with the words they have chosen. Having developed a new-found love of learning, Aiyaz happily contributes to the discussion, eager to give answers!