THE NEW BOOK
Sumanth was all smiles when his new class teacher Varsha showed his collection of pamphlets and booklets to his classmates. At the school assembly on 21st June , Vasrha Miss requested the Head Mistress to speak on the importance of Children’s Rights. Head Mistress was very glad to address the gathering. This marked the beginning of celebrations of all the important days and events in Sumanth’s school.
Every Thursday afternoon, specially the last period, was reserved for reading or story telling. Varsha Miss used to ask all the students to tell a story of their choice. This provided a platform for free expression. Everyone in the class was eager to tell one or the other story. Sometimes there was a competition! There was no binding on language also. Students loved this sesssion very much.
Last Thursday there was reading session. Miss gave some colourful books to all. Being the library incharge, Varsha loved to carry books to class-rooms and make the students read atleast for half an hour. There were many interesting story books. If the students liked to carry the books home, they could do so. "Adventures of Robinhood". "Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Adventures of Huckelberryfin", "Kim", "Secret Seven", "Hardy Boys", "Nancy Drew", "The Time Machine", "The Invisible Man", "Adventure Stories", "Stories of Fantasy", "Jurasic Park", "Twentythousand leagues under the sea", "Journey to the centre of the earth", "Treasure Island", "Coral Island", "King Soloman’s Mines", "Adventures of Ulysis", "The Three Musketeers", "Alice in wonderland", "The Kidnapped", "Tale of Two Cities", "Lorna Doon", "Heidi", "Moby Dick", and many such titles attracted the students.
After distributing the books, Varsha went round to see whether the students were reading the books or not. Many were reading silently. A few of them were just turning the pages and making comments on the drawings in them. It was a busy session.
Varsha had a habit of introducing one new aspect in every period. She wanted her students to be brilliant in many fields. She found the I.Q. level of that 6th ‘B’ section was quite hight, so she brought new books, newspapers, charts, photographs to the class and showed them. This made her class still more interesting. Students were eager to learn many of aspects of G.K.
Now, Varsha observed everyone immersed in reading. She thought for a while and then asked, "Children, you have been reading many books. Can any one tell me why do we read or how many purposes are there for reading?"
"To learn, Miss." "To know more, Miss." "To enjoy."
"To know answers for the questions, Miss."
"Miss, here is a quotation on reading. Mr. Frank Jennings says, ‘We read to learn. We read to live another way. We read to quench some blind and shocking fire. We read to weigh the worth of what we have done or dare to do. We read to share our awful secrets with someone we know will not refuse us. We read our way into presensce of great wisdom, vast and safe suffering, or into the untidy corners of another kind of life we fear to lead."
The children went on giving their own version of the purposes of reading. Varsha remembered her college days. She was a voratious reader. Her sister Daksha presented her a book, "Learning to Read Effectively and Efficiently" written by Prameela Ahuja and G.C. Ahuja. It showed her the new way of reading and uderstanding more. She particularly liked this statement : ‘Reading is the first button in the garment of education. If the first button of a man’s coat is wrongly put, all the rest are bound to be crooked.’ Varsha repeated the statement and explained the purposes of reading.
"Well children, I agree with you. Prof. Hathaway identified 1620 purposes of reading. We read to gain meanings, to gain information, to guide activity, for social motives, to influence or entertain others, to find values, to organize, to solve problems, to remember, to enjoy, to satisfy an eagerness for knowledge, to compare views on a subject, to find illustrations of an idea, to discover relationships, to note the degree to whcih a thing is true, to view two sides of a question, to seek advice, to attain an attitude of open-mindedness and abilithy to form a tentative judgement, to entertain children, to learn the options of a district upon a political issue, to laugh, to re-live common, everyday experiences, to escape from real life, to enjoy the emotional life of others, to satisfy curiosity especially as to why people act the way they do, to enjoy dramatic situations vicariously, to gain information about the world we live in, to enjoy people and places we have never seen, to see how smart we are to outguess the author, solve a puzzle and so on."
"Miss, what are the uses of reading in the classroom?"
"We read in the classroom to find answers to specific questions, to determine the author’s aim or purpose, to find the central thought of a selection, to follow a sequence of related events, to enjoy the facts or story presented, to find the most important points and supporting details, to selelct facts which relate to a problem, to judge the validity of statements, to find facts supporting a point of view, to draw valid conclusions from materials read, to discover problems for additional study, to remember what is read, to determine the essential conditions of a problem, to follow directions with reasonable speed and accuracy."
"If we find a machine which reads all these books for us, how nice would it be!"
"Really! There are some machines availabe now. The books start narrating the story to you alive. They are in the form of Multi-Media Compact Disks. Diskis Books, Pentasoft Story Books, Sesame Street CDs, Schoolrom CDs and many more such compact disks contains hundreds of books which can be read with help of computers. If you place the CD in the drive and click the button, the Text Assistant Reader in them starts reading for you. There may be dramatic enactment of situations also. The colourful pictures and live scenes make the story more interesting."
"Miss, How shall we use them?"
"Well, as you know, we have a Language Laboratory in our school. We can go there and request the instructor to play those CDs for us and see them ourselves. I think we shall fix the next week for that listening session."
"Miss, Can’t we make our texts books to be read by computers?"
"Well, some of the CBSC and ICSC text books have been brought out in the form of CDs already. Many more CDs on Language Learning, Mathematics and Science have been availabe in the market. Recently I read an article on e-book. It is a small electronic divice like pager or a personal organiser. It has a small screen. Nearly 400 hundred text books can be stored in one e-book reader. It can be updated often. You can read all the text on the screen itself. If you feel bored, you can make the e-book reader to read it for you. For that you have to feed a Text Assistant Reader programme to that. With the help of a speakers or ear phones you can listen to the reading. You can choose the voice and pitch and also the speed of reading."
"Where shall we get them?"
"It is very costly now. Scientist are trying their best to produce the cheaper versions. When it is cheap all of you can bring such e-books to the class. You can even bring a note-book computer when you grow up. Then there will be no more burden of carrying books on your back. One small e-book and one note book computer or a device which can act as both will be the sole companion! How nice, yeah?"
"Will you show us such devices, Miss?"
"Sorry children, I don’t have the real ones with me. I have only the photographs of these e-books. Look here. This is Soft Book. This one is Rocket Book. This is Librius Millennium e-book. This is 3 Com Palm Pilot. These are all e-books . There are a number of e-books availabe on the INTERNET. If you are interested you can download them. You can select any search engine, say Google, Altavista, Rediff, Yahoo, Lycose, Netscape etc., and search for e-book sites. A few sites are here :
"Miss, how do you collect so much information?"
"We will also read and gather information like you, Miss."
"Thank you, children. I love to see all of you be good readers and good citizens of our great nation. It is time up now. We have to leave."
"Thank you, Miss. We shall be your trusted pupils."
"Well, don’t forget to attend the Language Lab.Session next week. Bye."
BEDRE N. MANJUNATH
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