Mar 11, 2015

Final phase of "All Children Reading Program"

Staple entertainment in India - Bollywood!
Staple entertainment in India - Bollywood!

Program Title: Same Language Subtitling on TV: Putting Children’s Reading Literacy on a Path to Lifelong Practice and Improvement

In September 2012, PlanetRead’s Same Language Subtitling (SLS) was declared as one of the winners of All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, a grant competition during an International Literacy Day celebration organized by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), headquartered in Washington, DC. 

With the help of ASER, Pratham’s research wing, PlanetRead conducted a baseline study in the months of June 2013 to understand the reading levels of children aged 6-14. Various household information relating to these children was also collected. Four districts in Maharashtra, selected based on a gradient of media penetration and reading skills in the children, were surveyed. Two districts in Gujarat, selected to be at a similar level of reading achievement to the Maharashtra districts, were also surveyed in order to compare the performance in a state with no telecast of SLS. 

Since then for the last 2 years, PlanetRead has been working closely with the ZEE TV network in Maharashtra to telecast films with SLS in local language (Marathi). PlanetRead has been adding SLS to 10 Marathi films every week. These movies were viewed by school children on a regular basis.  

Now, in order to gauge the impact of SLS on the reading and writing skills of children, aged 6-14, PlanetRead is getting ready to conduct an end line assessment on the exact same children who were surveyed for the baseline in June 2013. The aim of this research study is to determine their current reading skills after 2 years of exposure to SLS. 

This project has witnessed the highest level of exposure to SLS for one language in one week. We are very excited to have come this far and are eagerly waiting to complete the endline assessment to see how SLS has helped all those children in Maharashtra. We will share with you updates on the endline report as soon they are ready. 

Dancing to a Bollywood song
Dancing to a Bollywood song
Community viewing of SLS programs by PlanetRead
Community viewing of SLS programs by PlanetRead

Links:

Dec 9, 2014

Bollywood Lessons, SBS One, Australia

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. 

 

Sep 9, 2014

Study of Media Access for Literacy Development

Government School, rural Tamil Nadu, India
Government School, rural Tamil Nadu, India

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.  

Ambika, Little girl from Govt. School
Ambika, Little girl from Govt. School
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India

Links:

 
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