The act of reading becomes an act of thinking, when one doesn't just register text on the page but is able to decode and extract meaningful ideas from it. Good readers use their first voice to fluently and easily decode text; they employ specific strategies to activate their 'Second Voice' — the voice responsible for meaning making. In community libraries the Second Voice is developed by providing easy access to thousands of books. But that alone is not sufficient. That is why TCLP has a robust Reading Project that supports and empowers readers — especially first-generation readers — in bridging the gap between text and meaning to truly embody 'Reading Is Thinking'.
Since its inception, The Reading Project has brought about powerful shifts in our reading community. In the beginning, it was sustained by adult volunteers reading aloud to children of different age groups. Within 2-3 years, we had members of the Student Council trained to deliver read-alouds to younger children. Currently, we are seeing a new generation of 'read-alouders' who populate our libraries: older siblings reading to younger ones, friends reading aloud to each other, members spontaneously gathering a group around them to read a story. It has prompted us to update our motto from 'Reading Is Thinking' to 'Reading Together is Thinking Together'.
TCLP's Reading Project consists of:
Reading aloud is one of the most effective ways to encourage reading and thinking. There are as many ways to read aloud as there are books and readers, but we’ve developed some good bilingual resources on how to do this effectively, depending on your goals.
Find out more about what our read alouds are, how we conduct them and the related material to them.
How do people fall in love with books? Is it a natural, inherent trait? Or something that needs to be nurtured carefully? At Headstart To Reading, which is the Community Library Project's programme for four to six-year-olds, we try to answer this question every Saturday morning.
Read more about this program, how we organize and run it.
We have found that many of our members can read words, but do so very slowly. We’ve developed ways to help build reading fluency, which depart from the conventional chalk-and-board and textbook-based language class. The program instead adopts a literature-based approach where students apply each new reading and thinking strategy they learn while practicing reading from books of their choice. Several of the practices we use can be easily adapted for use in schools, even ones with poor teacher-student ratios. They are easy to implement for teachers, suitable for students studying in primary, upper-primary and higher grades, research-proven, and all it requires is time, books and commitment.
Detailed program notes and evaluation summaries are available here.
For readers who struggle to decode the written alphabet, sitting through an hour of reading class can be a stressful experience. We developed the ‘Learn to Read’ program to help struggling readers through direct instruction on decoding, thus enabling them to participate in the reading fluency program in a meaningful way and making these classrooms more inclusive. The program is designed to allow a more focused learning at the students’ appropriate reading level, and is intended as a complementary program to the daily reading practice as part of the reading fluency program. Based on our learnings from fluency classes, and research on literacy learning, we developed 3 series of lessons, calibrated to meet the learning requirements of students at different levels of reading abilities. These lessons are delivered one-to-one or to at most 3 students at a time.
There has been a huge demand from members for a reading fluency program in English. Thus, after the success of the Hindi Reading Fluency Program, we developed a similar curriculum for reading fluency in English. It shares similar principles and practices as the program in Hindi - like independent reading time for students, literature-based classroom, freedom to select books from a large collection of books of varying themes and genres - while also incorporating new practices and components of English speaking and writing. It has been started as a blended mode program with online classes, but will be adapted to classes at the library soon.
Part of our digital library program, in response to the closing down of our physical libraries during the pandemic in 2020, was to adapt our Hindi reading fluency curriculum for an online program. The curriculum is a blend of digital components - including online classes, video resources, visual aids and digital read alouds, and physical elements - weekly delivery of books to students for reading practice. The zoom-based classes are meticulously planned to afford ample reading practice to students from physical and digital books of varying themes and genres as well as instruction on useful reading and thinking strategies.
Our curriculum is open source. All are welcome to use, adapt and share any resources found here. We would love the acknowledgement if you use it, but all resources are free of cost.