Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Story of a Pencil - by Paulo Coelho

The following presentation is made from the story taken from Paulo Coleho's book "Like the Flowing River" - one of my favourites. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 29 October 2012

S.R Ranganathan

Father of Library Science
S.R Ranganathan
Painting by Mr. A Ramakrishna
ART Teacher, KV No.2 Vijayawada

Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan is considered as the Father of Library Science in India.
Ranganathan's major contributions to library science were in classification and indexing theory. His Colon Classification (1933) introduced a system that is widely used in research libraries around the world.   His Five Laws of Library Science (1931) was widely accepted as a definitive statement of the ideal of library service. He also drafted plans for a national and several state library systems, founded and edited several journals, and was active in numerous professional associations.
Ranganathan was born in Shiyali in Tanjavoor District of Tamil Nadu on 9th August 1892.
In 1962 he founded and became head of the Documentation Research and Training Centre in Bangalore, with which he remained associated for the rest of his life, and in 1965 he was honoured by the Indian government with the title of national research professor in library science.
He died on September 27, 1972.

Friday, 5 October 2012

How to select good books!

The cover of the book is the first to check. Looks good? But remember – a book cannot be judged only by its cover.

Go through the summary given on the back cover or inside flap. Does the book sound like something you would enjoy?

Skim the text, specially look for illustrations. Good pictures will help you understand the topic better for non-fiction books and it will be an added attraction for stories and novels. Here your age also matters!

Check the New Arrivals Rack in the library or the bookstore.

Look on the recently returned bookshelf. You will get some good choices. It's a good guest that the books taken by someone else may be a good one.

Get suggestions from your librarian, who would be glad to help you and may be knowing your likes and dislikes!

Ask the recommendations of your friends and ofcourse, discuss the books you have read.

Your teachers are the best sources. Read the books they might have discussed in the class.

Check the credentials of the authors. If you liked a book by an author, most probably you would like his other works too!

Go for books published by well-known publishers. They select their books and authors judiciously. So you can rely on them.

Browse through the library shelves. Something will catch your eye.

Read the book reviews on Newspaper, Magazines and Internet.

A Word of Caution

"No good book, or good thing of any kind, shows its best face at first"
- Carlyle

So, do not judge a book by reading just the first few pages.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Why Reading Matters and Class Libraries: A Presentation

The presentation outlines the importance of books and reading and describes briefly how to maintain and organise a class library for the primary section.

Primary Class Libraries

School Library an essential component of the school at all levels. Both teachers and students need to be motivated and trained to use the library as a resource for learning, pleasure and concentration. Class libraries and classroom library activities can enhance the teaching learning process at primary level. It can go a long way in promoting reading habits among children and nurturing them to life long readers. National Curriculum Framework 2005 highlights the importance of libraries that should serve as a place for holding discussions, story telling and should have a child friendly ambience with a positive ethos, good lighting and seating arrangement. The Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas, 2007 and CMP for Qualitative improvement of the Primary Education also stress the importance of Class Libraries for Primary Section and provide clear guidelines on how the class libraries are to be organized.

Class Library means allocating space within the classroom for displaying a variety of reading materials which provides ready access to reading materials and act as activity centre to energise the class rooms.
NCF 2005 guidelines emphasise the need for conceptualising the school library as an intellectual space where teachers, children and members of the community can expect to find the means to deepen their knowledge and imagination and recommends the following:

  • One period a week to be devoted to library reading. During this time, children sit and read silently in the library.
  • It is important to let the child choose rather than having the teacher distribute the books
  • Library books can be used in the language class
  • For class projects, encourage children to look up reference in the library
  • Children can be asked to write about the book they have read that week during the language class
  • Let them share a story that they have read with the other children in the class

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has been giving much importance to School libraries. It has brought out a Library Policy for Kendriya Vidyalayas in 2007 in which special provision is made for class libraries for the primary children. The Common Minimum Programme for qualitative improvement of Primary Education also stresses the establishment of class libraries.

The Class Library will be established from Class I to V and the Class Teacher will be the in-charge.
  • Class teacher should maintain a register to keep track of the books read
  • Ensure that every student maintains a notebook in which the name of book read, its author and a brief account of the content
  • The books will be provided from the main library and it can be replaced from time to time
  • Display the books attractively in cupboards. The books need not be stacked where only the spine is visible. The cover page carries the visual appeal.
  • Create an environment that is supportive of early writing by making sure paper, crayons, pens, pencils, and markers are available
  • Use flashy slogans, poems, banners that talks about a new book and motivate children to read.
  • Novelty is key to motivation and thus the content of class libraries should change frequently.
  • They need to be regularly updated with new books from the main library so as to keep the enthusiasm alive.

The children should be introduced to the books. The teacher may read aloud the title, sub-title, author’s name, illustrator, and also talk about the illustrations of the cover and the back page.
The class libraries can be put into use more effectively with a number of activities.

  • Encourage children to predict the plot, share what they see on the cover page, and share their experiences. Such things motivate children to read and confirm their predictions.
  • Engage learners to respond to what they read. Their opinion about the book and the view point needs to be respected.
  • Introduce sharing time when children share their reading experiences.
  • Key words from a book can be selected on the bulletin boards as sight words.
  • The teacher can ask children to read and narrate a story. Picture books can be created using the characters of a story but altering the plot
  • Make riddles about the characters they studied and play a quiz, build story maps.
  • Other literary activities may include writing an introduction for a book, making a poster, role play, letter writing.
  • Activities and competitions - Book Reviews, Book exhibitions, book clubs, Celebration of reading day/reading week, Vote for Favourite Book, Best Reader Award etc.

A class library needs to be equipped with a variety of reading material. The books for the class library should be done judiciously keeping in mind the reading level of the children. A variety of children’s literature should be available to readers. This includes wordless picture books, comics, fantasy stories, humorous stories, mysteries, biographies, experiential stories, folk tales, fables, poems etc. Other reading material like book reviews, catalogues, brochures, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers etc. Diversity of language should be encouraged and emphasis should be on usability of the book rather than longevity. Hardbound, dull binding should be avoided.
A good book is

  • Entertaining, with attractive illustrations
  • Presented in a clear, rich and simple language
  • Contains interesting imaginative characters, events, themes and situations
  • Provides knowledge/pleasure and have rich and varied content

Availability of Books
There are a good number of children’s publications available in the market. Publishers like Children’s Book Trust, Ekalavya, Scholastic, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, TERI, Tulika, MacMillan, Putak Mahal etc. publishes quality books for children. Magazines like MagicPot, Wisdom, Children’s Digest, Champak, Chakmak, Children’s World, Balbharati, Nandan etc. can also be subscribed for class libraries.

To encourage effective and maximum utilisation of the class library a sense of belongingness should be developed among the children. 
Visit the main library with children and allow them to select material for reading and place it in their class library will help to generate the sense of belongingness. 
If they develop the feeling of ownership, they will maintain the reading materials properly. 
Class library magazines may be brought out which may contain stories, poems, drawings/paintings, book reviews etc by children. This may be kept along with other reading materials.
Wear and tear of books is natural. 
They should be taught how to handle the books carefully. Let the children handle the books and do not scold them if the books get damaged. 
Children should be engaged in mending books and thus tapes, scissors, glue should be provided to them which they will enjoy. 
Encourage children to share the books they read at home and place it in class library for a day or two for others to read. 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Library Points: A System to Encourage Effective Use of Library Resources

The Library of KV Kanjikode initiated a system of Library Points with the following objectives.
  • Improve reading habits of the students
  • Promote better and effective utilisation of the library
  • As a transparent criteria for recognising the students for the User of the Month and Best User Awards and Prizes
  • Encourage timely return of books to the library
  • Ensure maximum participation in library events and activities
  • Encourage proper shelving of books
  • Motivate students in usage of reference books
  • Encourage the students to write book reviews
  • Better library behaviour
How it works?
In this system, every students is credited points for each and every library related activity including issue and return of books, consultation of reference works, library behaviour, shelving and replacement of books, book reviews etc. The library software has been modified to provide the facility of adding and tracking the library points of the members. For every book issued, a member is credited with two library points and one point is deducted if the book is returned after due date.
Similarly, participation in library competitions, assistance in the library etc. will help them to get a point credited to their account. One point each will be deducted from their account for any damage to the book, scribbling, improper handling etc.
Each month the topper is selected as the User of the Month. The User of the Month will be given a free book from the library. At the end of the academic session, the Best Users will be selected for the School and for different classes and will be awarded certificates and prizes. All the students who score a minimum library point for issuing books from the library (as fixed by the Library Committee) will be given Reading Achievement Certificates.
Visit the Library Website for the winners of previous academic session.

Why Reading Matters and How to Motivate Students to Read?

"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting" 

Aldous Huxley

Reading Matters!
Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children, especially in the present competitive world. The more they read, the more they learn. Reading is a source of knowledge and pleasure. Regular reading enhances the development of their spoken language skills, their ability to express themselves verbally. It gives exposure to new vocabulary. It opens new worlds to them. It enriches their imagination. The magic of books is that children can learn about new places and people. They can see in their mind the past, present and the future.
It is now a familiar statement that today's children are not reading. I think the main problem for this is the lack of an atmosphere for reading. As teachers or parents we are the role models for them in the initial years. Our failure as a reader will definitely have an impact on our children.

Why are they not reading?
  • They are not aware of the benefits and we don't have time to encourage and inculcate the reading habits in them. They can't appreciate how fruitful reading is for a purposeful life and to achieve their goals.
  • They are not provided with good books. They should be exposed to quality books which they can enjoy. No need to pressurise them. 
  • For some children, it is too difficult to read. They are unable to follow the language.They need help in finding books that suits their level of understanding.
  • Today, kids are too busy: school, homework and assignments, tuition, friends and relatives, sports, television. Do they have time to read?
  • Though it is a must to have a library in every school, a number of schools are not having a library. In some cases, the library means a collection of books dumped somewhere in the store. There is no separate room for the libraries. If there is a library the school may not have a full fledged librarian.
How to Motivate?
  • The children may be motivated to read by making them aware of the benefits. The teachers and parents should be a model to them.
  • The school should have a well equipped library with a qualified librarian. Sufficient funds to be alloted to the library. The library is to be well furnished.
  • The attitude of the School Librarian counts a lot here. He should have a pleasing attitude, encouraging the students to read. 
  • The books in the school library should be selected judiciously keeping in mind the reading levels of the students. The library need to be attractive and the books should be arranged subject wise. Proper guides and instructions is to be provided.
  • Book are for use! So let your children make use of the books. Don't worry that the books will get damaged.
  • Promote open access in libraries. Free access to books may not be cause for books being lost. 
  • Let them read the books of their choice. You may suggest good books to them. But do not force them the books you like. There is no need to bother if they are reading just story books and comics. Their tastes will gradually change
  • Display of new additions and selected books on different topics (subject, author, events etc.) will definitely help in attracting the students towards reading.
  • Different activities like books reviews, book cover designing, poster designing, books clubs, book talks, library quiz, book exhibitions etc. can be organised.
  • Cooperation between the librarian and teacher is essential. Teachers tell the students stories. They should discuss the books they have read and motivate the students to read them. Plan interesting reading related activities. Encourage students to read aloud stories in the class room.
  • As a parent you have read aloud stories to your children. Listen to them while they are reading. Try to clarify their doubts. Never discourage them. During their birthdays and other special occasions try to present them with good books.