Pune, 23rd November 2023: In a bid to address literacy rates among school children, the State Government of Maharashtra has unveiled a comprehensive reading movement aimed at fostering a culture of reading among students. The initiative comes in the wake of alarming statistics from the National Achievement Survey, revealing that over 30 per cent of third-graders struggle with basic text comprehension and a staggering 41 per cent of fifth-graders cannot read grade-appropriate material.
The ambitious project, set to roll out across government-recognized and private schools, is a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders such as the Department of School Education & Literacy, Maharashtra State Government, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), READ India and Pratham Books. The movement, scheduled for full implementation by 2026, seeks to equip every child up to the third grade with fluent reading skills and ensure that every eighth-grader can read for learning purposes.
According to the National Achievement Survey, despite students naturally acquiring languages, there is a significant gap in their ability to read consciously. The guidelines for the initiative will be meticulously prepared by the State Project Director of the Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (Maharashtra Primary Education Council). Notably, private schools will participate in the program, but they will not receive books as part of the initiative.
The core components of the reading movement include regular reading classes held on specific dates throughout the academic year, where students will have the opportunity to exchange books. Additionally, the initiative integrates two weekly reading hours into the school schedule, with e-books becoming available every Saturday under the ‘Sunday Things’ initiative. The ‘Drop Everything and Read’ initiative under the ‘Happy Hour’ program encourages teachers and students to engage in 15-20 minutes of reading storybooks before the school day commences.
The movement aims to not only improve literacy rates but also to instil a love for reading in children. The overarching goals include involving the community in providing reading opportunities, emphasizing the importance of reading, establishing a new reading class for the Marathi language, imparting moral values through literature, and cultivating a sense of taste for stories, novels, poems and plays.
As part of the initiative, a brand ambassador will be appointed to amplify the campaign’s reach and impact. The State Government is optimistic that this comprehensive approach will bring about a positive transformation in the education landscape, creating a generation of avid readers with well-developed literacy skills.