Word play and language learning

Sameera Sood

Economists believe that one important factor fuelling India’s economic growth is the ability of its workforce to communicate in English. This is a major advantage that our country enjoys vis-à-vis other emerging economies like China.

However, competency in a language in India presents a strange paradox. The ASER report points out that reading levels are declining in most states. (PRESS RELEASE The eighth Annual Status of Education Report (ASER2012) released In New Delhi, 17 January 2013). Similarly, many young adults who complete secondary school and join the workforce find it difficult to write a report or draft a mail for professional purposes.

Language teachers consider reading as a panacea for all language difficulties ranging from poor spellings to lack of comprehension to inadequate writing skills.

‘Read more’ is the most common advice that is dished out to students in class and at parent teacher meetings. But how can we encourage our children to read? After all, love for reading is not a developmental skill such as walking which children will automatically acquire at a certain age.

Reading and writing like any other acquired skill needs to be gradually built with targeted and effective practice through activities that are interesting enough to engage children and motivate them to stay on the task.

Mentioned below are some interesting strategies that can be used in primary grades to engage and motivate children to learn and practice language skills.

The author holds a master’s degree in child development and has a diverse experience in handling both National (CBSE, ICSE) and IB Curriculum. She has been a trainer for NCERT and has a rich and varied experience in instructional design. She also heads the Curriculum Design and Development for Inspire products and projects. She can be reached at sameera.sood@inspireedu.org.

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