RightToRead – Enhancing English Literacy in Schools of Telangana
In Telangana, many initiatives have been introduced to improve English reading and comprehension of government school students. English is part of the prescribed curriculum from grade 1. Despite this focus, there are many English learning interventions and initiatives in the state. However, English is still a challenge for students across Telangana.
RightToRead is an AI technology enabled English reading and comprehension program for students in government schools. The program was initially implemented in 2013 for grades 6-8 in 20 schools in the state. This early pilot was launched in partnership with American India Foundation (AIF) and received support from Dell and HDFC Ltd.
RightToRead – An EdTech Initiative for Improving English Literacy
RightToRead is an edtech initiative that aims to enable English literacy in India (and globally) with the help of multi-sensory reading and comprehension AI software – ReadToMe®. Research indicates, language is learnt best when learners are exposed to the language in a multi-sensory environment. ReadToMe®, the AI software, enables the reading of prescribed English textbooks during normal class hours. Across the education system in India, RightToRead is an example of a unique and successful blend of technology and education.
RightToRead was launched in 2013 in 100 schools across 6 states. In 2015, the program expanded to 5000 schools reaching one million students in 8 states. RightToRead is estimated to achieve a footprint of 100,000 schools reaching nearly 20 million students by early 2020.
RightToRead – Now in ~1500 Schools in Telangana
In 2015, the implementation of ReadToMe® was extended to 25 schools with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Students from grade 6 to 8 were exposed to ReadToMe® enabled reading and comprehension of their English textbooks in class.
The initial pilots provided valuable insights into the efficacy and impact of the program. Encouraged by success, the RightToRead footprint was expanded (in partnership with Schoolnet) and now reaches over 400,000 students in 30 districts across the state.
Leveraging Technology for Empowering Students with English Literacy
In India, less than 25% of grade 5 students can read a simple English sentence and, among those, almost half do not comprehend what they are reading. In the long term, for these young people, lack of English reading and comprehension has an adverse, compounding impact. English plays an important role for higher education, job opportunities and is socially empowering. The quest for English is a major driver for students from low income backgrounds migrating from free government school education to private institutions.
R. Nikitha, a Grade 7 student in GGHS, says, “now I am not at all afraid to speak English.” Her English teacher explains, “Nikitha, who is a very appreciative student, was apprehensive about speaking in English before she was exposed to ReadToMe® classes. She comes from an underprivileged section of the society, where her parents were not able to afford tuition fees. When Nikitha came across the ReadToMe® software she found it very interesting and effective. For Nikitha, translate tool is quite fascinating as it related the word in a language which could be an easier task to understand a difficult word. With RightToRead program, Nikitha was able to overcome her hesitation to speak in English.”
To understand how to use the Translate tool in ReadToMe® class please click https://youtu.be/lHyPhQ2sSus
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