The Reading Project

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 Students 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:

  • The Read Aloud program
  • Learning to Read
  • Headstart to Reading
  • Hindi Reading Fluency
  • English Reading Fluency

The Read Aloud Program

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.

Headstart To Reading

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.

Hindi Reading Fluency

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. Several of the practices we used could be easily adapted for use in schools, even ones with poor teacher:student ratios. They are easy to implement for teachers, research-proven, and all it requires is time, books and commitment.

Detailed program notes and evaluation summaries are available here.

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.

Research into Hindi Reading Acquisition and Early Literacy

Over the past several years, TCLP’s curriculum team has been working hard to better understand the needs of people learning to read Hindi. How is reading acquisition in an alphasyllabary like Hindi different, and how is it similar, compared with reading acquisition in alphabetic languages like English? What, if any insights might we gain from the extensive research behind the western Science of Reading (SOR) ‘movement’? What does the South Asian research on reading in Indic scripts tell us about this and other questions? 

To answer these questions, we read dozens of books and research articles, and we conducted a small study of 139 library members. We think we have some new insights into how to teach reading in Hindi, and we’ve begun to develop and test instructional practices based on these insights. We’ve also produced a lengthy working paper, ‘The Two Paths Postulate’, which reviews the existing literature on reading, outlines our own research, and suggests a direction for future research and instruction. You can read that paper here [link to pdf].

We understand our current paper is written in academic language and may be difficult for non-academics to get through. At this point, we  are actively seeking feedback from other researchers and practitioners, and we are working on making our findings more teacher and parent friendly. If you’d like more information, or are willing to review, respond or discuss our findings, please reach out to Prachi ( and Michael (

The Community Library Project
Dharam Bhavan, C-13 Housing Society
South Extension Part -1
New Delhi - 110049
Donations to The Community Library Project are exempt from tax under section 80G of the Income Tax Act. Tax exemption is only valid in India.
Illustrations provided by Priya Kuriyan.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
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