A Library in India Helps One Young Reader Bring Literacy Home
Sirisha waves goodbye to her mother and heads off to school. Even though there is ample time before class starts, she takes long strides—rushing to spend her morning among the colorful books in her school library. Before the bell rings, she has time to read a couple of stories.
All days start this way for Sirisha. The library at her school in Andhra Pradesh was established in 2011, and she has been a regular visitor ever since. As a 3rd grader when the library opened its doors, Sirisha was still struggling to read well, but that did not stop her from developing a passion for books. She was drawn in by the colorful environment, and would spend hours flipping through books like Santhalo oka roju (“A Day in the Market”).“The library is my best friend—I love spending time with all those books!” Student
“Sirisha could barely manage to read a few words back then,” says Ms. Sudha, the head teacher for the school. “Now she has progressed so much that she can read stories to her classmates.” With Ms. Sudha’s help and encouragement Sirisha learned quickly, and soon began entering competitions. She now visits the library as often as three time per day!
“The library is my best friend—I love spending time with all those books,” Sirisha exclaims earnestly. “My dream is to establish a library at my house!”
In addition to Ms. Sudha’s support, Sirisha credits the library’s captivating collection of books with helping her learn to love reading. “A Day in the Market,” she says, reminded her of shopping trips she made often with her mother to purchase vegetables. “The day I could read it aloud without faltering, I took the book home and read it aloud to her,” she says proudly. That tradition of bringing books home to read aloud to her parents is one Sirisha has continued ever since. Both day laborers, her father and mother both lack the ability to read and write, making them all the more proud of their daughter’s academic progress.