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When 'deprived' kids gave better-off peers a tough fight

Bangalore: November 25, 2013 DHNS 1:42 IST
ALL work, ALL play: Schoolchildren at the 'Joy of Reading' programme in Bangalore on Sunday. DH Photo
Kavita, a class 8 student at Sanjivini Nagar government school, had not read a single book until her parents, migrant labourers from Gulbarga, enrolled her in one of the Urban eprived Children (UDC) hostels in the City.

She had trouble coping with what was taught in the school. Then she began reading story books in the community library provided by the hostel and things changed ever since.

In the last three months, Kavita was able to read about 110 story books. She is now able to recollect all the stories and their authors. Now, she does much better in school. She was one of the 250 children who took part in the book reading contest on Sunday as part of ‘Joy of Reading’ programme organised by Sparsha Trust, a child rights organisation.
Lot of difference

Bharath, a class 9 student at a private school in Kodigehalli, was another participant. Children from UDC hostels gave him a tough fight. “I met them at the community library. I find a lot of difference between my friends in UDC hostel and my classmates. In my school, children are always busy memorising textbooks. But here, they play and learn at the same time.”

The event was attended by children from UDC hostels, shelter homes, government schools and a few from private schools. The participants had read anywhere between 25 and 150 story books in the last two to three months.

The contest required them to recite their favourite story and recollect the names of authors of all the books they had read.

The aim was to boost their confidence in UDC hostels and shelter homes. Government schoolchildren and a few from private schools also took part in the contest. Besides, children took part in recitation of tables, English vocabulary test and other cultural activities.

Stories, news favourites

Kavita said she was now doing well in school. “I realised that I had problem understanding what the teacher was explaining in the classroom. But once I started reading stories and recollecting them, I was able to recollect lessons taught in the class, too.” Monica, another student in the UDC hostel who took part in the vocabulary contest, successfully listed 293 English words, besides recollecting the chronology of words in the list. She is obsessed with news and general knowledge contests.

“I read newspaper every morning and make it a point to share with my friends whatever I learn in the day. I am so involved in newspaper sometimes that when I read something bad, I dream about it later that night. I have many newspaper clippings on child rights issues,” she said.

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