Reading Corners in Schools

  • Created access to quality children’s literature in government primary schools: 
    • The average strength of each government primary school is 10 children.
    • Each school is given around 75-100 books so that the average number of books available for each child is 10.
    • No fee is charged from the school or from children for the books that are provided to them.
    • We have already covered 53 schools out of 69 government primary schools (and 7 secondary/ higher secondary schools) and plan to cover the remaining 16 schools by the end of 2021.
  • Curating a diverse collection of books for children 
    • The books in the libraries consist of board books (for toddlers), picture story books for slightly older children who are learning to read and chapter books for more fluent readers.
    • We take special care to curate books that cover a diverse set of themes, so a lot of research and planning goes before the books are actually procured.
    • In the last couple of years books have been primarily sourced from various Indian publishing houses like Ektara, Pratham, Tulika, Tara, NBT, Eklavya, Zubaan, Katha. We intend to now build a collection of international publications as well.
    • Majority of the books are in Hindi, since that is the dominant language (even the medium of instruction in schools was Hindi until last year). There are more beginner level books in English since this is an aspirational language for children.

Some numbers

  • Number of schools covered: 60
  • Number of children reached directly (through book distribution): 600
  • Number of teachers reached directly (through book distribution): 70
  • Number of books distributed: 6,000
  • Estimated number of children impacted through revival of public library: 100
  • Number of teachers who have undergone orientation: 40
  • Number of teachers who have attended skills enhancement workshops: 25
  • Number of children directly reached through book distribution driven amidst lockdown: 100

COVID Response

Working in Spiti proved to be an even bigger challenge in 2020: In view of the current pandemic, Spitians under the leadership of local panchayat and collective support of five main monasteries have taken it upon themselves to take preventive measures against COVID 19. Since March 2020, Spiti has been under strict lockdown. All the main border roads were completely sealed, restricting entry of non-locals. The schools were also closed but around first week of August 2020, we approached district administration and with the help of our local volunteers, distributed books among children so that they have access to books at their homes.

Distribution of books: For the first phase, we reached out to 5 Government Primary schools in the villages of Kaza, Gulling, Mane, Langcha and Kibber. We did door to door visit for distribution of books Library stock of each school was renewed, and we distributed over 345 new books among government primary schools reaching over 100 children within 2 weeks. As per teachers, this book distribution drive amid pandemic lockdown came as a much needed respite for children, who are struggling to deal with ‘new normal’ and digital learning. Teachers travelled from different villages to facilitate this; one teacher walked for over 7 kms to facilitate the distribution work.

Story Videos: In addition to the books and art materials, we also created audio-visual materials in Hindi, English and Spitian. Since most villages in Spiti do not have access to the internet, these videos were distributed offline during the book distribution drive. All the story videos created so far are available on our website www.letsopenabook.org.

Let's Open A Book