Recently, the 5 to 7 year-olds of City International School’s Manas City Campus amazed the spectators by fluently reading the newspapers of the day in both English and Hindi. The credit for the students’ phenomenal reading prowess, reading fluency, and confidence in speaking goes to the ground-breaking Accelerating Learning for All or ALfA pedagogy.
Director CIS, Dr Sunita Gandhi, and program author, says she came up with ALfA methodology after many years of research by working with the underprivileged children for whom she made the Global Dream Disruptive Literacy Toolkit in 2014. She said: “ALfA is a child-friendly, process-led pedagogy in which children work in pairs and learn to decode and blend sounds to make words from the beginning. Teacher’s role is to motivate and support this process, ask, wait, but not tell or teach.”
The Chief Guest, Alok Ranjan, IAS Officer (retd.), Ex-Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, and Co-Chair of the Global Dream Literacy Campaign said that he was surprised to witness the Reading Revolution today at City International School. He also praised the school for building the students’ personalities.
The other prominent persons invited as Guests of Honour included IAS Yogesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner MGNREGA, Dr Amita Bajpai, Director IIM, GB Pattanaik, IAS, Former Senior Bureaucrat, Manoj Rai, Director, Women & Children Welfare, Rajendra Singh, IAS (retd.), Chairman, India Literacy Board, Prof. Parmod Kumar, Director, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Prof Rakesh Dwivedi, Chief Proctor, Prof. Tripta Trivedi, Dean, Department of Education, and Prof Rupesh Kumar, Department of Social Work, University of Lucknow.
The guests interacted with the children of classes KG, 1 and 2. They randomly picked children in their classes, and asked them to read passages picked on the spot from the day’s newspapers, and were surprised to find the entire classes reading with poise and sureness.
Priyanka Singh, mother of Samaira of Class 1 said, “My daughter’s reading skill has been enhanced tremendously. I am grateful to CIS for introducing such ground-breaking innovative techniques. My daughter is busy with projects and fruitful activities throughout the day.”
Filled with pride, Fariha Siddiqui of Faiz of Kindergarten said: “We are fortunate to be the pioneer batch to benefit from these books, as capacity to read is the foundation of learning. I am proud that my child is a part of CIS.”
The Principal, Carmel Yaganagi Manas City campus said, “CIS has been innovating at all grade levels. Everyone feels good when the learning is rapid, and the progress is real every day.” The ALfA is a reverse methodology that uses cognitive mind connections, and self-led peer work to make learning accelerated and joyful. There is no rote learning and no teaching of the alphabet. Children go straight to reading words. They learn to decode and blend words from the first day. Even three-year olds can read the three-letter words from the beginning and simple sentences within weeks. The 5+ children can read storybooks and newspapers within three months, and many of the 7 year olds within one month. The next goals are reading fluency through lots of reading practice, reading comprehension, and vocabulary development. The school has tied up with many story book app providers besides having a large inventory of printed books and a reading log that parents sign.