Since July 2016, PlanetRead has developed forty leveled AniBooks in Hindi, ten each for grades 1-4 (roughly ages 6-10), to help children become better readers. AniBooks are animated stories with same-language subtitles; each word in the subtitles is timed to appear as it is spoken in a recorded narration. Our goal was to integrate AniBooks into schools and then evaluate the impact of AniBooks on the reading abilities of children from very low-income backgrounds.
Over a seven-month period, in five schools in rural Delhi that had been selected to receive the AniBook intervention, teachers showed AniBooks in class three times a week. A control group of five schools with similar student populations received no AniBook exposure.
The reading skills of the children in both the treatment group and the control group were measured at the beginning of the study. The baseline measurements showed that the two groups had comparable reading abilities, with the mean scores of the control group slightly better than those of the treatment group.
After seven months, the children in both groups were tested again. All the children had made strides in reading, but the target group's reading scores had substantially surpassed the scores of the control group. The control group's mean scores went up by 26.9 points, while the treatment group's mean scores went up by 45.5 points. The difference in group means was highly statistically significant. (See the chart above.)
In seven months, children who got the AniBook intervention scored 69% higher on reading than children in control schools. Schooling alone got 51% of the absolute non-readers started on the path to reading. Schooling plus the AniBook intervention got 84% of the absolute non-readers on the path to reading. The treatment schools’ mean comprehension score went up 80% more than control schools. The strongest measurable impact of SLS on reading was on children in Grades 2 and 3.
We're excited that this project produced such strong evidence of the efficacy of AniBooks for students from backgrounds without many other opportunities to read. We hope you'll continue to support PlanetRead's work with same-language subtitles for literacy!
Oracle Giving recently announced that they will be supporting PlanetRead for the development of AniBooks with Same Language Subtitling (SLS). This is the fourth consecutive year that Oracle is supporting PlanetRead and we are deeply honored and grateful for their support.
In 2015, Oracle first supported SLS on Hindi songs of the channel Zee Cinema, in the second year, PlanetRead continued the SLS program on Zee Telugu, in the 3rd year, Gujarati film songs on a program called Chitra Gurjari on DD Girnar were subtitled.
This year, PlanetRead will be producing 5 AniBooks (animated stories) in English and Hindi.
In the first phase of production, PlanetRead will partner with BookBox, which is a social enterprise born out of PlanetRead’s SLS innovation. BookBox has been creating AniBooks with SLS for over 12 years. The AniBooks are available free of cost on BookBox’s YouTube channel, which has over 62 million views and more than 275K subscribers.
AniBooks are platform agnostic and available in the form of CDs, DVDs, internet downloads, mobile Apps and videos that can be played on TVs too. Usually produced in English the first time, AniBooks can be easily converted into any language. They currently available in a mix of over 45 languages (15+ Indian and 30+ international).
BookBox’s most popular story, Kiran Bedi’s How to lose a shoe at over 11 million views, The Greatest Treasure, has over 4.8 million views and Abdul Kalam’s Lesson for my Teacher at just over 2 million views.
The next phase of the project will be to make all AniBooks available on YouTube and distribute them via other educational programs run by other ed-tech companies.
For more information about PlanetRead’s work:
President Bill Clinton speaks about PlanetRead: http://tinyurl.com/39epgrm
Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster: http://youtu.be/K7XDMzsLd5o
Coverage by SBS Dateline, Australia https://youtu.be/tOsWToI2PIw
Visit our website: http://www.planetread.org
PlanetRead's work with same-language subtitles for literacy has been honored with a 2017 iF Social Impact Prize! Winning this prestigious award--selected by the top names in design and given in support of ideas that make progress toward one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—will allow PlanetRead to make further progress with SLS initiatives, from subtitling film songs in multiple languages to creating anibooks for early-grade reading. The iF Social Impact Prize honors PlanetRead for "effect[ing] social change through design." "What does design have to do with literacy?" you may be wondering. As the iF website points out, "Often, innovation is the key to making an unique social impact, and since 'design is how it works' (Steve Jobs), design-minded people are in a unique position to make a difference in the way a service or product functions."One such design-minded person is Brij Kothari, the founder of PlanetRead, whose innovative thinking about literacy started with his own "aha! moment" of wishing for same-language subtitles for a movie in a language he was studying. He recognized, too, that many "literate" people in India lacked the ability to read a newspaper. He wondered if adding SLS to content that people want to know, such as song lyrics, would help them move from identifying letters to reading words. He began to study the effect of adding SLS to popular film songs on television. The results were persuasive--you can read about them on our website (see the link below).The UN Sustainable Development Goals show the path to a better world by 2030, and their aim is to "reach the furthest behind first." SDG 4 is "Quality Education," and PlanetRead's work strives to help everyone in India—children and adults, in school and out of school, rural and urban—become fully literate.Go to the link below to learn more about the iF Social Impact Prize on the iF's ongoing "World Design Guide."We're thrilled that Brij's simple, scalable idea has attracted this attention. Thank you to the iF Social Impact Prize committee, and thanks to you for your support!