The understanding with which ELP methods have been developed
- The ELP methods for developing beginning level reading and writing have evolved organically through continuously working inside classrooms. Most of this work has been taken up in classrooms for children from disadvantaged homes, in urban and rural areas.
- This work has been continuing for a period of more than five years i.e. since 2006.The ELP methods have developed with the following beliefs and understandings:
- Each child is special and has the potential to learn and to grow
- Children learn when they get a free and non threatening environment in which they are not afraid to make mistakes, and feel accepted and safe.
- It is important to engage each child inside the classroom
- Readingand writing are ways of expressing ideas, thoughts, feelings and understandings
- It is important for children to realize that what they express through their spoken words and pictures can also be expressed through written words.
- Children need to experience reading and writing as something that is connected to them and so is meaningful for them, therefore reading and writing activities need to begin with the children’s home language and experiences.
- The more children read with enjoyment and interest the better they become.
- Children “pick up” spoken language naturally, by listening and responding to others who speak in their environment. In the same way if children get exposure to print and its use in their surroundings, they “pick up” many aspects of written language naturally.
- Some children do not have any exposure to print at home; such children are at a disadvantage when they come to school, and so they need special attention.
- ELP Methods
The ELP methods can be broadly categorized into four areas. These are as follows:
1. Building script knowledge through the Varna Samooha approach.
This approach has been developed for engaging children with understanding with the Deva Nagari script. Within this approach the Hindi varna mala (alphabet) has been regrouped into six groups called the varna samoohas. These six groups were developed through trial and error over a period of one year and with the active involvement of school teachers
This Varna Samooha approach has the following components:
a) Identifying spoken sounds
b) Matching written symbols for each spoken sound
c) Combining sounds to construct meaningful words / sentences/ poems
d) Illustrating the meanings of newly constructed words and sentences through pictures
2. Building a print rich class room and engaging children with it
This has the following components:
a) Word Wall or Shabd Diwar
b) Poem corner or Kavita ka kona
c) Children’s corner or Bachon ka kona
display of children’s written words / stories / drawings / free writing
display of shared writing or samoohik lekh
display of any interesting written or pictorial material that the children bring into the class
d) Written captions and instructions or likhit nirdesh
for different corners and parts of the class
for instructions, such as keep the class clean, put waste into the dustbin, put your shoes in a line etc
f) Charts such as name charts, project charts etc
All the displays need to be changed regularly at least once in two weeks
3. Classroom Reading Corner or Kitabon ka kona
A book corner is set up in the classroom to provide an opportunity to the children to engage with books and make friends with them. The children are given some free time everyday to select and read any book. From time to time the teacher reads aloud one of the books and engages the children through conversations which connect the story of the book to the children’s experiences, feelings, imaginations, curiosities etc. The children draw pictures or write their own stories based on the books they read. At times they enact the story or play word games connected with the book. Through book talk the children share the books they have read. The idea is that gradually, through such activities, the children are drawn into the worlds of books and begin to build bonds with books and read them with enjoyment
4. Worksheets for skill practice or Dakshataaon ke liye worksheets
Based on research studies and available literature ELP has identified some specific competencies which are important for building strong foundations for reading and writing with understanding. ELP has developed five or six skill practice worksheets for each competency, so as to strengthen it. These are given to the children from time to time based on their individual needs.
The competencies that have been included in the worksheets are as follows:
Recognition of spoken sounds (phonemic awareness)
Sound symbol correlation (phonics)
Combining sounds and symbols to construct meaningful words
Building spoken and written vocabulary
Readingand writing / drawing with understanding (comprehension)
Responding to questions on a text through written answers
Reading and writing different forms of texts with understanding