RightToRead in Gujarat – How it Began
In 2014, the RightToRead program was launched in Gujarat, in 80 government schools in partnership with American India Foundation. The initiative was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2016-17, an independent impact assessment by a qualified assessment agency was conducted. The tests revealed there was a noticeable change in English reading and comprehension proficiency of the children undergoing the program. Students exposed to ReadToMe® powered English classes scored higher in the assessment, as compared to students who were not exposed to such AI technology-enabled reading and comprehension. Encouraged by the outcome, the RightToRead initiative was expanded to reach almost 150 schools in 2017-18.
The RightToRead Initiative- Enabling English Literacy
RightToRead is an initiative that aims to enable English literacy 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.
The RightToRead Program – Current Footprint in 33 Districts Across Gujarat
In 2018, the RightToRead program was implemented in 1609 ‘Gyan Kunj’ schools that blend technology and education.These schools are ‘Smart-Board’ equipped allowing easy deployment of ReadToMe® software with no additional investment in IT equipment. More than 3000 teachers, for grade 6 – 8, were trained to use the software to read English textbooks in class.
Today, in Gujarat, the RightToRead program provides English literacy support to over 200,000 students across 33 districts!
Teachers are trained and empowered to use ReadToMe® in class. The ReadToMe® tools such as picture dictionary, translation and word-meaning help teachers to conduct English classes more effectively and achieve their syllabus goals.
Kanani Vallabh is an English teacher in a government school. She says “I am very happy with ReadToMe® software because this is a Gujarati Medium School and the students come from poor socio-economic backgrounds. Whatever they learn, they learn here. With ReadToMe® students’ English reading and writing skills are improved, as we can adjust the reading speed according to the level of the students, for example, slower for the ones who need more time to understand. The best part with ReadToMe® is, even the weaker students get encouraged and learn from their peers.”
English teacher for grade 6, Ramesh Bhai Patel says RightToRead program has helped his students to learn English in a better way. Students are now able to correctly pronounce words and identify exact meaning with the help of Picture Dictionary.
English Language – The Learning Challenge
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. Lack of English reading and comprehension has an adverse, compounding impact. Students with low English proficiency find it difficult to access good quality, higher education. English ability also influences job prospects. Learning English at a later stage is often expensive and challenging. The RightToRead initiative aims to solve the problem by equipping children with English skills before it is too late.