Learning to read with peers.
Reading has been an essential component of MMC’s education programme. In order to encourage reading habits in a growing child, MMC has a library programme in place, where books are easily accessible for children to read at each of our centres.
Reading and arithmetic competencies are assessed at the time of admission and subsequent assessments are done at regular intervals of three months. The reading competencies of children are categorised into one of the three groups- Red, yellow and blue.
The Buddy Reading– an innovative project was introduced under the library programme of MMC. This new projectwas carried out at two daycare centres on construction sites run by MMC. The project focussed on peer-reading to accelerate reading attainments among the children of migrant construction workers attending our day care centres. The intention was to increase peer learning and thereby develop interest among the children towards reading.
As per the new method, one child from each of the groups (red, yellow and blue) was made to sit together (1 Red + 1 Yellow + 1 Blue) for the reading sessions. The child from the blue group (children who are able to identify all letters and can read words and sentences) helped the children from the yellow and red groups to read. In the period of 4 months from May 2017 to August 2017, 26 sessions of 30 minutes each were conducted with 20 children at a centre located in suburbs of Mumbai while 24 sessions with 27 children were conducted at a centre in Navi Mumbai. The children were assessed for their reading skills at the start (base line test) and at the end (end line test) of the project. Five parameters were used for the assessment of children’s reading abilities:
- Letter recognition - Word Structure - Sentence Structure - Comprehension - Number of Words Read per Minute
There was an evident increase in the average scores of the children across all reading parameters indicating that there was definite improvement in the reading skills of the children as well as their understanding of the content they read. Improvements were notable for the reading parameters Word Structure, Sentence Structure and Comprehension.
Improvements in number of words read per minute were observed among children across all the three groups. Overall, average number of words read per minutes increased from 39 at the baseline to 57 at the end-line assessment.
Children from the red group with a minimum reading competency at the outset benefitted from this intervention the most. There was a decline of 19 percentage points in the Red Group children with a corresponding rise in the Yellow group and Blue Group children. The percentage of children in Blue Group with highest proficiency in reading rose by 17 percentage points with 66 percent children in Blue Group at the end of the project.
The children who did not progress to a next reading level did not differ from those who progressed on the parameters of monthly family income, maternal employment and total number of Buddy Reading sessions attended. However, they were typically younger (average age 6.5 years) than the children who progressed to the next level (average age 8.6 years).
Buddy Reading project intervention successfully facilitated peer learning among the children of migrant construction workers at the two daycare centres of Mumbai Mobile Creches.
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Child enjoying reading of storybook with a friend
A child from a centre trying to read the book