Students in elementary schools in Odisha’s Ganjam district go on reading mode during the seventh period, every Wednesday. The period is actually called ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (DEAR) and the students wait eagerly for the class every week.
The unique initiative, called the library movement, was started by Ganjam District Education Officer (DEO) Sanatan Panda. “The main objectives of the project is to make books popular among children, enabling them to participate in different competitions and to enhance their creative writing and reading skills,” said Panda.
Under the project, a library corner is created in each classroom in elementary schools across the district. A class, preferably the seventh period of every Wednesday, is dedicated for reading. “Each student will drop everything and read once the bell rings for the seventh period,” Panda said.
Panda was recently conferred the National Award for Innovations in Educational Administration by Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani at a function in New Delhi. The prestigious award, instituted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), is given to selected education officers across the country as a recognition of their innovative practices in educational administration.
Grade-appropriate books and magazines are displayed in the said library corner. The books are colour-coded as there are multi-grade classrooms in the school. “The children are asked to pick up books of their choice in their free time and put them back after reading them. They are also encouraged to share the stories they have read in the prayer class,” Panda explained.
Several schools have also set up wall magazines with pieces written by the students. “Besides, students are also encouraged to contribute to the school wall magazine and school magazines in an effort to develop their writing and creative skills,” said Panda. The project was initiated on December 2014 in the district.