PlanetRead's Same Language Subtitling (SLS) was covered by Amos Roberts of SBS One, an Australian news channel. Amos travelled all the way to India to film a documentary of PlanetRead's work.He met many people in the field who have benefitted from SLS. The film is available on SBS One's YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOsWToI2PIw along with a brief article of on their website here: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/bollywood-lessons
Here's an excerpt from the article:
India has high illiteracy, but a simple idea of showing Bollywood movies with subtitles is having a remarkable effect on reading skills.
One of India's biggest success stories, Bollywood, is being used to tackle one of its biggest failings, illiteracy.
The country has the greatest number of illiterate people in the world, but a remarkably simple idea is gradually changing that. Amos Roberts meets Brij Kothari, who wondered if subtitling the song and dance numbers in films would teach people how to read.
The PlanetRead Team from Pondicherry, India recently went on a field visit to understand the level of access of various kinds of media and how they could possibilt improve the reading skills of children. Please find below the highlights of the trip:
Ambika, a 4th grade girl, was all smiles! She could not understand how a weird looking gadget (iPad) suddenly started playing a cartoon. She watched the animated story for about 2 minutes. Then we asked her about the story. She had understood most of it – the animals, the conversations between the characters etc... She was ecstatic and explained how much she liked the AniBook and thanked us for showing her this story.
Now the interesting part is that we showed this simple story in English: http://youtu.be/XpqFAX6vRlM. Ambika explained to us what she understood in Tamil, her mother tongue. She was able to easily guess what was going on with the visuals. But unfortunately, though in the 4th grade, she could not read or follow most of the conversations in the story. The Headmaster of the school then told us their children have never seen such content and admitted quite frankly that Ambika wouldn’t have been able to read or follow the dialogues.
Ambika joins the ranks of 234 million primary school children in India in the 6-14 age group. This was the highlight of our one day field visit to a government primary school in India in a village called Mangalam that is situated approximately 15 kilometers away from Tiruvannamalai, a district in South India. This school has been functioning for over 20 years and this was the first time anyone had visited them or inquired about children’s content, their facilities and their reading levels.
Though Tamil Nadu is thought of as a high literacy state but it may come as a surprise that, according to ASER (2013), only 29% rural children in Grade 3 are able to read a Grade 1 level text. This figure has remained in the 27.2% to 30.6% range from ASER (2009) to ASER (2013). The national average in ASER (2013) was 40.2%. In this case, we are talking about their own mother tongue.
The main conclusion of our trip was that we could use the help of local cable TV operators to telecast programs with SLS and thereby help improve the literacy/reading levels of the entire district.
Same Language Subtitling (SLS) provides automatic and inescapable reading engagement among weak-reading viewers. This engagement then leads to measurable reading skill improvement. Originally conceived by our project leader in 1996, SLS is on its way to become national policy in India on film song-based programming on TV.
We are pleased to announce that PlanetRead's and IIM-A's Same Language Subtitling (SLS) was featured on The Wall Street Journal, May 17-18, 2014, here is an excerpt from the article: Literacy, the Subtitle Way, By HANNAH BLOCHIn 1996, a Cornell University graduate student from India took a VCR break from working on his dissertation to watch Pedro Almodóvar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." Struggling with the comedy's rapid-fire Spanish, the student, Brij Kothari, wished for subtitles in the same language: If he could read along in Spanish, he felt sure his proficiency would improve. This prompted another thought: If viewers back home in India could watch Bollywood musicals with Hindi subtitles, would it help them learn to read their own language?To read the rest of the article, please visit: http://goo.gl/IAOknbSame Language Subtitling (SLS) was also featured on Australian channel, SBS Dateline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOsWToI2PIw (10 minutes)
Please spread the word and thank you for your continued support.
Our friend Ken Banks posted an article about PlanetRead's work in "The Guardian". Here is an excerpt from the post:
Digital technology means development is now happening outside the system. The spread of the internet and rise of mobile phone ownership means more social entrepreneurs are succeeding outside the traditional development system.
Please click on the link below to read more.
WASHINGTON: Badmouthed for promoting tawdry kitsch and tell moves, Bollywood's song-and-dance routines — most recently endorsed by first lady Michelle Obama during the White House Diwali celebrations this week - has been recognized as a tool for learning by the US Library of Congress.
PlanetRead, an Indian non-profit born from IIM Ahmedabad, has been named winner of the Library of Congress' first international literacy award announced this week for its pioneering work in teaching millions to of semi-literate people to read using same language subtitling (SLS) for Indian movie songs. The award, which carries prize money of $ 50,000, supports organizations working to alleviate problems of illiteracy and aliteracy (a lack of interest in reading) both in the United States and worldwide.
The storied Library of Congress, repository of arguably world's largest knowledge base, described PlanetRead's SLS work in India is an innovative program that reinforces literacy skills, primarily through subtitles for popular musical television programming, based on solid research. "It is simple to implement and easy to replicate, reaching 200 million low-literacy TV viewers in India. SLS is notable as a highly motivational approach for getting low-literacy adults to read, particularly where access to books is difficult," the citation read.
To read te remaining article, please visit: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-08/us/43821833_1_sls-literacy-brij-kothari
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