RightToRead – A Technology Enabled Initiative for English Reading and Comprehension
Tamil Nadu has over 46,000 government schools with 10 million school-going children. English has been introduced as a second language from grade 1. Similar to the English challenge in other regions, students in Tamil Nadu government schools struggle with learning English.
In 2013, the RightToRead program was implemented in a few government schools of Chennai and Coimbatore in partnership with the American India Foundation (AIF). The initial pilot covered about 3300 students for grades 6-8. By the end of the academic year 2014-15, students exposed to ReadToMe® classes demonstrated improvement in English reading and comprehension. A white paper “A Large Scale Study of the Effectiveness of Multi-Sensory Learning Technology for Learning English as a Second Language” was published in March 2014 detailing the impact study that was conducted. Teachers and students were also very forthcoming with their feedback about the program.
Encouraged by the outcome, the program was then expanded across 70 schools of the state. In Tamil Nadu, RightToRead today reaches more than 300 schools covering nearly 27,000 students from grades 1-9.
RightToRead – The Technology and Education Synergy
RightToRead is an edtech initiative that aspires to enable English literacy globally with the help of multi-sensory reading and comprehension AI software – ReadToMe®. Language is best learned through multi-sensory exposure in the learner’s environment. The ReadToMe® software enables the reading of prescribed English textbooks during normal class hours. Repeated and frequent exposure to words enables word recognition and pronunciation. Features like dictionary, word translation and pictures help with developing vocabulary. This process of learning improves fluency in reading and comprehension. Teachers observe a high level of student engagement when using ReadToMe® in class. Across the education system in India, this technology-enabled method of reading for enhancing English literacy is a strong endorsement of the evolving synergy of technology and education.
Teachers’ Role in Using ReadToMe® Software in Class
Teachers using ReadToMe® play an important leadership role in the classroom. They continue to actively encourage students to work towards improving their English reading and comprehension skills with ReadToMe® software. Thousands of teachers have been trained and empowered in Tamil Nadu to use ReadToMe® in class. Teachers’ effectiveness is enhanced as students enjoy and benefit from this digital learning experience. ReadToMe® tools and slow speed read-aloud feature assist teachers to deliver English lessons more effectively and achieve their syllabus goals.
S. Gomathi, is an English teacher for grade 6, in Chennai Middle School, Pudumanaikuppam, Tamil Nadu. She says, “before using ReadToMe® software, I used to read the content and explain it to the class in English and Tamil. Only good students used to listen, observe and read back the content fluently, the rest of the class never even tried to read. Now, with the help of ReadToMe® software, even students who are below 20% are able to improve their pronunciation and English reading and comprehension skills as the software allows reading, showing difficult words’ meanings, translation in English as well as Tamil. When students listen to the artificial voice they are able to pay attention and grasp words quickly. Before using ReadToMe® students were not able to pronounce difficult words correctly and now with ReadToMe® classes, students are improving their pronunciation. As per my observation, the picture dictionary tool helps students to remember English words. Overall, the program is helping students in improving their English reading and comprehension skills. I am also improving a lot by using the software (ReadToMe®) it helps me to understand the content better.”
To know more about how to use ReadToMe® picture dictionary tool please click here.
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