Monday, November 26, 2012

Abhay's picnic

Last week Abhay went on a school  trip to Lalbagh. I am an old timer when it comes to school picnics  believing that children have much more to learn from conventional outings to museums, botanical gardens, the planetarium or the zoo than the easier option of taking them to a resort! Anyway, when I got to know that Abhay’s school was planning a trip to Lalbagh, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic about my own school trip to Lalbagh in Class V, which now seems like another age!  Since it was literally a stone’s throw off from our school, we went walking and were assisted by the traffic cops at the pedestrian crossing. I still remember the excitement of walking hand-in hand with our assigned partners, giggling at the people who seemed either curious or amused by the sight of over 130 odd young girls marching in twos! Abhay of course didn’t seem amused that we walked all the way to Bangalore’s most famous botanical garden! was much simpler back then, with the city less-spread out, much less traffic on the roads and as kids, we had way too less expectations than our kids have today! J

I had him read “Picnic time” by Cynthia Rider and Alex Brychta is a Level 1 B Early Reader, part of the Read at Home series brought out by Oxford University Press. I recently discovered this Early Reader series at the British Council Library that has several stories spread across 4 levels of graded reading with a gradual progression within each level from A to C. Whenever I choose early readers of an Indian publishing house, I always start from the bottom level as I find most of Indian Early Readers lacking in structure as far as graded reading is concerned unlike their western counterparts. For instance, you’re most likely to find a word that is neither a commonly known sight word nor phonetically based in a Level 1 which the kids find it hard to decipher! Whereas, the Early Readers from a British publication or an American publication are based on certain fundamental teaching techniques that are typically characterized by vocabulary repetition and gradual progression from short vowels sounds to long vowels sounds and sight words. Well, in essence, I found that Abhay was able to cruise through a Level 1 B even though he requires help with some Level 1 books of certain Indian publications. Anyway, this particular book is about children getting excited about the picnic to a nearby farm. But when they actually reach the farm and spread out their mat to gorge on their picnic lunch, they are joined by the farm animals too. So what happens? Listen up as your little early reader steps into reading and it’s time for you to ask those annoying “why” questions as the tables turn! :-)

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