Hamaari Udaan Library
It has been said, “Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light”. Then, imagine the darkness that awaits a population of children who have no access to any books other than the school textbooks made available at the beginning of an academic year and to be returned at the end of the year.
The Hamaari Udaan Library aims to provide easy access to books for children in low-income communities. It is a platform for reading and informal learning through a range of English, Hindi and bilingual books. The library follows the GROWBY model of Hippocampus Reading Foundation. Each child and book is assigned with a GROWBY (Green, Red, Orange, White, Blue and Yellow) colour which represents a specific reading level. Trained librarians and volunteers provide support to students in their reading and observe their progress as they graduate to higher reading levels. Books open the window to a whole new world and take children on a flight to spheres of countries, history, science, human behaviours and fantasy that otherwise would be unknown to them. The immense potential of the library as a tool of informal learning is harnessed by supplementing it with language games and grammar lessons. Book based activities and worksheets reinforce the incidental learning that occurs when children immerse in the universe of stories and incidentally walk the path of knowledge as they discover the joy of reading. Afterall, reading is the gateway to knowledge.
Sometimes after school and often on weekends, children eagerly walk into the Hamaari Udaan Library to travel into the cosmos of fascinating people, friendly animals, mysterious happenings and exotic lands. Falling over each other to reach out to the coveted Amar Chitra Katha or to grab the beautiful looking book of the girl with the long golden hair, children settle down into their assigned groups having satisfied themselves with their trophy of the desired book. The little ones wait with teacher didi for her to choose a book.
Volunteers and teachers in each group start with an interesting story - someday taking children to visit Arabia on the magic carpet and sometimes getting them to believe how good always conquers evil as in fairy tales, thus training young minds to always hope and believe in goodness. Their minds stimulated towards imagination, children now are eager to meet the characters of their own book and thus follows the time of silent, individual reading, which is the time when one can see the child getting into the role of a brave prince or beautiful princess - a world that he/she often dreams about at night.
"There are many good books in the library. I like to read them all. I also like the circle time when we all sit together and read books. That is so much fun. My favourite tale is ' Ekki dukki'. I like it because it is a tale of two sisters and I have a sister too."
Bhumika Tiwari, Grade 4
Learning Centre student
At a Glance
Easy access to a variety of books
GROWBY model by Hippocampus Reading Foundation
Book based activities and worksheets
Led by trained librarians
Helps improve language skills
Inculcate reading habits