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Learning to Read for Pleasure

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Posted on 8/31/2016

 

In parts of India, children and adults don’t read or own any books. Many can’t read, which places them at a serious disadvantage in overcoming poverty. To address illiteracy, ChildFund India started its Books, my Friends project in many impoverished communities. Starting in 2015, we have distributed thousands of age-appropriate, enjoyable books and book bags, with the goal of reaching 115,000 Indian children ages 6 to 14 within three years.

Of course, children must be able to read to succeed in school, but Books, my Friends also aims to create a love for reading. Over the past year and a half, children have not only made friends with books but also with their peers.

“This campaign has really helped me make new friends,” says Pooja, a 14-year-old girl in the state of Andhra Pradesh. “All the students who have received these books have formed a group, and during weekends, all of us sit together to read and enjoy chatting with each other. I’ve made this extra effort to read, and today, I can read an entire sentence in English without faltering.”

  • In southern India, a group of girls enjoy reading books they received from the Books, My Friends campaign.
  • Pooja is a 14-year-old girl who has improved her ability to read in English, thanks to Books, My Friends.
  • Four friends show off the backpacks they received filled with books.
  • Many homes in India’s Andhra Pradesh region do not have electricity, but solar lanterns help children do homework and read after dark.
  • What’s the best book Shreelakshmi (in pink scarf), a seventh-grader from Karnataka, has read? “I like Kadhakalu Big City the most!”
  • We hope eight-year-old Mahesh becomes a lifelong reader!
  • Kajal, 13, enjoys the outdoors as she reads a book.
  • Five-year-old Manish and his mother, Sugna, read a book together.
  • In his classroom in Jharol, nine-year-old Sanjay takes a moment to read.
  • Children in Jharol with their new book bags.
  • Reading groups help children make friends and find things in common.
  • Manju (left) and Champa, both 12, are two more children creating a bond through books.

 

Photos by Jake Lyell and Rashmi Kulkarni, ChildFund India