ELI Resource Books
In the last three years, we have endeavored to create a set of resources useful to practitioners working in the domain of early language, literacy and literature. We created five themes, on the basis of which, approximately 45 original blog pieces were written by practitioners and scholars knowledgeable about that theme. An annotated bibliography was also created for each theme, totalling nearly 145 annotations across the five themes. The blog pieces and the bibliographies are largely perspective building, albeit written in simple, accessible English. In addition, the ELI team has created 21 “practitioner briefs” which are “how-to” pieces written with clear and lucid examples to support practice.
In an effort to disseminate these materials, ELI has decided to collate the five thematic resources in the form of e-books. In addition, we plan to bring out between 6-7 collections of thematically organized booklets collating the Practitioner Briefs. We hope you will find these books useful.
ELI Resource Book 5: Reading Comprehension
It is a common belief that once children know how to decode the script, they will “automatically” understand the message conveyed by a text. No wonder many Indian classrooms spend a lot of time teaching students how to decode, but hardly any on teaching them how to make sense of what they read. But we know this practice is not effective: poor reading comprehension levels remain a dismal reality in several Indian classrooms. Building a strong understanding of the processes and pedagogies that support reading comprehension is an important first step towards changing this. This is what the blog pieces in the book set out to do.
An important idea the book highlights is that reading comprehension is neither simple nor automatic. Instead, a complex set of processes come together to assist the reader in actively constructing meaning from a text. Good readers use comprehension strategies to interpret texts effectively. These processes and strategies might not be intuitive to many children, especially those from low-literate backgrounds. But the good news is that children can be taught these through explicit and balanced strategy instruction, along with a focus on meaning making in classrooms. The blog pieces compiled in the book bring together a rich variety of perspectives and experiences around this theme. We hope you find these resources helpful in facilitating stronger reading comprehension in your students!
ELI Resource Book 4: Teaching and Learning the Script
While teaching the script appears to be the central aim of most primary-grade classrooms in India, children’s learning of the script is nowhere as successful as the time and effort spent on it might suggest. Why is this so? How can teachers teach the script more effectively, even while freeing up time to spend on other aspects of a balanced early language and literacy curriculum? What knowledge-bases would a teacher need to effectively teach students how to decode Indian scripts? The blog pieces compiled in this book bring together a rich variety of experiences and perspectives on various aspects related to this theme. The book aims to demystify key theoretical concepts related to the teaching and learning of scripts, such as, about the nature of writing systems, scripts, orthographies, phonological awareness, phases of reading, and so on. In addition, rich perspectives from practitioners working in the field have been included to introduce readers to pedagogies built to suit the contextual requirements of Indian classrooms. With a focus on the teaching and learning of Indian scripts, this book hopes to make a valuable contribution to the work and understanding of teachers, teacher educators and other practitioners in the country.
ELI Resource Book 3: Children's Writing
Children’s Writing enters most early grade classrooms in India only in the form of teaching correct spellings and good handwriting. Copywriting accurately and neatly from blackboards is also often emphasised. What are the assumptions behind these practices? Are young children not capable of writing to communicate, to express, to inquire? An entire body of scholarship and research suggests otherwise! The emergent literacy paradigm which has been gathering evidence over the last five decades in other parts of the globe, convincingly demonstrates that even very young children can be helped to meaningfully enter the world of print by drawing upon a mixture of talk, drawing, pretend-play and scribbling. As they gain competence, these “emergent” forms of writing gradually transition into more conventional forms; but, in the meantime, the young child has learned that writing is a meaningful social activity. The blogs presented in this book draw upon the emergent literacy perspective to provide a variety of insights related to the development, teaching and assessment of children’s early writing in Indian contexts. We hope that they are useful to your thinking and work!
ELI Resource Book 2: Children's Literature
Children’s Literature has much to offer to early language classrooms and educators; yet, sadly, this remains an area of neglect in the Indian education system. The Early Literacy Initiative took this up as one of five topics that are in need of urgent attention for creating the literate individuals that our society needs; and invited a series of blog pieces on the topic. This book is a compilation of those blog pieces, as well as other related talks and resources on Children’s Literature. They offer a set of easily accessible perspectival pieces written by practitioners and scholars working in this area. We hope that they are of help to practitioners working in the field!
ELI Resource Book 1: Multilingual Education in India
Helping students become literate in a multilingual country like India is a daunting task! Students often have to navigate home languages that are different from the medium of instruction at school; and then learn additional languages like English while at school. Teachers have to help young readers and writers with learning all these new languages and scripts. There is also very little help at hand, since this is an under-explored area of scholarship or research in Indian contexts. The Early Literacy Initiative thought it was critical to initiate a discussion around issues related to multilingualism in India, and hence took it up as the first of five thematic topics we explored. This book brings together a compilation of original perspectival blog pieces written by scholars and practitioners in the field; as well as related talks and resources. We hope that they are of interest to the reader!