You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me. – Strickland Gillilan, American Poet
Reading is a Critical Life Skill
Our world is full of written text that we interact with on a daily basis: textbooks, exam papers, newspapers, magazines, storybooks, instructions, presentations, documents, forms, recipes, prescriptions, posters, advertisements, letters, comic strips, emails, apps … It is impossible to live without being able to read and comprehend a heavy volume of written text. And lucky was Gillilan, for his mother read to him, and taught him to love to read, but not everyone is as lucky.
BLPS uses proven strategies to help schools get their children to love to read storybooks. Children who have been with BLPS since kindergarten can comfortably read a 300 page storybook like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by age 10, maybe even by age 8. BLPS kids are comfortable with large volumes of text.
Is BLPS for you?
As an educator, reading skill development is one of many priorities, and only you can decide which one is more important than the other. However, to help you, we’ve put together a few questions you can ask yourself.
- Can your children read their Science and Social Science textbooks and understand them, without the need of a teacher explaining it?
- Can your students comfortably read according to their age? If you’re unsure, then email us and we’ll send you The Comfortable Reading Test.
- Do you hear your students tell you that they love to read books? That they would rather read a book than watch TV or play on the mobile phone?
- Are your English teachers good readers and storytellers themselves? Do they inspire the children to pick up reading as a habit? If you’re unsure, then email us and we’ll send you The Good Reader Checklist.
The BLPS Method
The Book Lovers’ Program was developed in collaboration with English teachers and principals across schools in South India after years of field work. We believe in the concept of immersion, and are largely aligned to the Whole Language Approach. We rely on the LSRW structure and consider reading as a skill, whose mastery requires guided practice. We reject the use of recorded audio and video in classroom as it has been proven to weaken reading. While our pedagogic study is extensive, we also believe that any core method needs to be extremely simple for it to actually work in the field. So, here’s the not-so-secret BLPS method:
- BLPS uses storybooks and storytelling to make children want to read.
- As they read, contextual activities are used to reinforce learning.
- The entire ecosystem of the school is transformed to encourage reading.
Are you worried that using storybooks in classrooms seems like a frivolous use of your students’ time? It can actually be a huge help to language learning! Read more – Does it Help to Use Storybooks While Teaching English? Why?
Please read the detailed essays explaining the pedagogic concepts that went into making BLPS
So What is BLPS Exactly?
The Book Lovers’ Program is a customised mix of 6 individual components. Depending upon your requirement and your budget, the components are tweaked so that you get a program that’s perfect for your school.
Thematically curated storybooks from across the country, and the world.
Activity books designed around specially curated storybooks to reinforce reading.
Workshops in stories and storytelling, for teachers, parents, and students.
Regular visits by experienced storytellers to your school, during class hours.
Session plans, classroom materials, diagnostic tests, demo videos, and much more.
A unique literary festival organised in your school. Like no other festival!
Does it Really Work?
The Book Lovers’ Program for Schools was developed in the period 2009 – 2011. We ran an extensive 15 month pilot program with 600 students over 3 grades and 15 sections in P S Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai. We measured the number of students who regularly and voluntarily borrowed books from the library, and responded to classroom activities around the same books.
90 students out of 600 came regularly to the school library before the BLPS started in 2009 December.
The number increased to 468 students by April 2011. The improvement was consistent in all sections.
The word of our successful pilot spread and we were approached by other schools. From 2011 to 2019, we have worked with over 200 schools spread across South India. We’ve worked with:
- International schools, e.g.: CIRS Coimbatore, Care Trichy, Mahatma Madurai.
- CBSE schools, e.g.: Kamala Niketan Trichy, Vedavalli Vellore.
- Matric schools, e.g.: SSMLNP Erode, Union Christian Chennai.
- New schools, e.g.: Prasan Vidya Mandar Chengalpet, Springdales Vellore, C S Academy Erode and Coimbatore.
- Established older schools, e.g.: P S Senior Chennai, Vidyodaya Girls Chennai.
- Schools with only a few sections, e.g.: Brindavan Vidyalaya Trichy, Vallabha Vidyalaya Madurai.
- Massive schools, e.g.: Pushpalata Vidya Mandir Tirunelveli, Pupil Chennai.
The Team Behind BLPS
The BLPS pilot started in 2009 and the company was registered in 2011. Our first school partner signed up in 2012. Our founders are two book lovers, and IIT Madras alumni, Amrutash and Naresh.
To join the company, prospective employees are emailed a list of 100 books and are asked to mark out how many books they’ve read. Only the ones whose scores are high enough are called in for an interview. Once employees join the team, they are asked to read ~300 storybooks in the first few months. They need to understand these books and critically analyse them. Needless to say, not everyone matches up to the challenge. And so, we remain a small team.
In 2020, MultiStory and Stones2Milestones merged into one company with the combined vision – “to create a nation of readers.”