Dec 8, 2015

Help Bring Literacy to Every Child in Africa

Give the Gift of BookBox
Give the Gift of BookBox

Dear Friend,

We know you are passionate about literacy as you have supported us in the past. With the support of people like you, PlanetRead continues to bring literacy to millions of people in India through Same Language Subtitling (SLS).

BookBox, PlanetRead's partner has been using SLS on animated stories to improve reading skills and language learning. With animated stories in over 35 languages, our YouTube channel has more than 23 million channel views and 100K+ subscribers. BookBox has made all its content available free on YouTube to promote a love for reading.

We have just launched a campaign to “Help Bring Literacy To Every Child In Africa”. Our goal is to make 10 animated stories in English and Swahili and participate in the X Prize. 

We need your help.  Our goal is to showcase our solution through 10 new open-sourced AniBooks that have so much more for our children. More games, more interactivity, writing practice and math skills, plus loads more fun in the same loved BookBox story format!!

We need to create 5 AniBooks in English and 5 in Swahili - the official language of the Global Learning XPrize competition.  Each one will cost $2000, so we need your help to raise $20,000.

Every contribution no matter how small, can help. Each time you forward or share this message, you can help us move one step closer to bringing literacy to millions of children in Africa. 

How you can help: Donate as much as you're willing to give here. That's not all! There are different donation levels in which you can receive special gifts on our campaign page.

We, and all the children around the world who rely on AniBooks for literacy would be so grateful if you could contribute to help us make more of a difference.

Small actions = knock-on impact = BIG RESULTS.

Help African children read 1
Help African children read 1
Help African children read 2
Help African children read 2
Help African children read 3
Help African children read 3


Sep 10, 2015

Impact of Same Language Subtitling in Maharashtra

Same Language Subtitling (SLS) is simply the idea of subtitling existing Bollywood film songs on TV, in the same language as the audio. The lyrics of Hindi songs subtitled in Hindi. Tamil songs subtitled in Tamil and so on in all languages.

SLS is deceptively simple for what it can do. In India, 800 million people -- children, youth, and adults -- watch on average two hours of TV a day. A significant portion of the content consumed is song-based, including, film, folk and devotional songs. If all the songs were "Karaoke-ized" with the addition of SLS, 800 million viewers, half of whom are weak readers, would get automatic reading practice, every day and lifelong.

From June 2013 to May 2015, nearly two years, PlanetRead added SLS on all the songs of 10 weekly Marathi movies
telecast in prime time, on Zee Talkies, the state’s most popular 24 x 7 Marathi movie channel. The song-subtitled
movies were further repeat-telecasted in other slots on Zee Talkies and on Zee Marathi, also the state’s most popular Marathi general entertainment channel.

Together, this resulted in an unprecedented scale up of SLS in the Maharashtra, far more than even the project had planned for or anticipated.

Did the SLS scale up in Maharashtra have any impact on school children’s reading skills in the state? Yes! we are happy to share with you the results of the impact study that was conducted independently by Pratham. Please read the attached document for a detailed report and find below the main findings: 

Generally, Grade 3 is a good point to assess a school system’s deliverance of reading skills. The trajectory of further reading skill development and educational progress is to a large extent determined by what has transpired by the end of Grade 3. So we took a snapshot of Grade 3 reading skills in Maharashtra, at the baseline (June 2013) and the endline (May 2015). In Maharashtra, 30.5% more children in Grade 3 progressed to Grade 1 reading ability. In Gujarat, only 2.1% did. Overall, we have seen that there is a 10% to 14% more children were able to experience marked improvements in the reading skills. 


Jun 11, 2015

PlanetRead featured in "The Economist"

We are excited to let you know that PlanetRead was recently featured in The Economist.

Here is an excerpt from the article: 

MILLIONS of Indians watch Bollywood movies for the broken hearts, lost fortunes, dishy actors and catchy tunes. But beyond mere escapism, such fare may have a role to play in fighting illiteracy. Between 1991 and 2011 India’s official literacy rate rose from 52% to 74%. But about 400m of those counted as literate are only barely so. Bollywood, with its powerful pull among the least-educated, may help the many who can read only simple words.

Brij Kothari of PlanetRead, an NGO, believes that “same-language subtitling”—providing subtitles for the lyrics of catchy Bollywood songs—offers valuable reading practice. Fans keen to mimic their screen idols are drawn to the written versions as they scroll by. The repetitive verses offer a chance to practise more complex words. Children learn well when a ball bounces along the words on screen. Adults generally prefer the words to be highlighted as they are sung.

To read the complete article, please visit: 

Please spread the word and thank you for your continued support. 

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