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Sahyog offers English Literacy Classes to school-going children in partnership with Leap for Word (LFW), an organisation dedicated to enhancing the language skills of children and youth from underserved communities. The English Literacy Programme designed by LFW is highly structured, modular and the rule based content can be delivered in the students’ regional language by a tutor who need not be fluent in English. Rigorous testing and measurement ensure that learning gaps be identified in real time and corrective action can be taken.
The children who were a part of our Roshan Library programme were very eager to read English books and converse in English. The aspiration to learn English is high amongst children as well as parents who enroll their children in English-medium schools—even when the fees are beyond their reach. However, the quality of English teaching—and therefore learning—in government or private schools in low-income communities leaves much to be desired. Several young college-going women tutor at home to support their college education but their English skills are weak. This sets into motion a vicious cycle of poor learning—poor teaching—poor learning.
The programme was piloted in Dindoshi, Goregaon and launched with a tutor-training for 10 women from the community. From this cohort, 6 promising tutors were selected. Over 100 children were mapped for their English learning levels and 60 children were selected to participate in the programme. Over the course of three months, the children learnt over 300 new words and confidently were able to read 3-letter words. The children enrolled in the programme and the young women who had been trained to deliver it, both showed tremendous improvement in their English language skills. The promising results spurred us on and we decided to continue with the programme.
In 2015 LFW revised its content and trained 4 tutors to deliver the 8 month Ground Level Reading Programme. 60 children enrolled in this programme. The results were once again inspiring. The children were now able to read sentences made up of 4 letter words and learnt 500 new words.
The results from the two batches at Dindoshi confirmed the efficacy of this evidence-based English training. In 2015, we decided to relocate the Roshan Library to Ghatkopar and the English classes moved with it. In 2016 we trained 2 women from the community to deliver the LFW Foundation Level and Ground Level Reading programme. In 2017, 7 students completed the Foundation Level programme and 14 students completed the Ground level programme. 11 of the 14 students have enrolled in the next level and are presently undergoing the Ground Level Comprehension Programme. In September, 2017 another enthusiastic teacher was trained and 20 children are currently enrolled in her Ground Level Reading Programme.