Once you learn to read, you’ll be forever free!
The backstory of Flourish
When someone walks into any typical Indian classroom, it is not surprising to find students of varying English language reading levels – from the ones who can read at a blazing speed of 300 words per minute to the ones who can barely decipher the words. But here’s the caveat when it comes to reading in English, even if the students can read, many of them can’t understand what they read – yes, even the ones who blaze through the text at 300 words per minute. This single powerful observation is the inception of the Flourish initiative.
The reason behind a child’s ability to read English text without comprehending is very simple – Poor exposure to meaningful usage of the English language. Research has well established that a language can be learnt only when it is used meaningfully. For most children, English is not widely spoken in their households and neighbourhoods. In such a case, the English vocabulary of a child is very limited. Therefore, reading simply becomes the act of deciphering sounds without any meaning.
But here’s the caveat when it comes to reading in English, even if the students can read, many of them don’t understand what they have read – yes, even the ones who blaze through the text at 300 words per minute. This single powerful observation is the inception of the Flourish initiative.
Reading Genius – Bilingual Stories is one of the finalists in the prestigious British Council’s ELTons Innovation Awards 2020.
We decided to help children understand better by providing them easy access to meaning in their native language with the use of bilingual stories. This led to the experimental intervention called Reading Genius – Bilingual Stories. After witnessing the positive impact of using bilingual text in improving the language skills of the students, we decided to make it a part of the children’s school curriculum in the form of an academic book that could help them develop their language skills, general knowledge, and impart value education, all at once.
Now, here we are with Flourish – a set of 8 innovative bilingual books in English and Tamil that aims to improve the language skills of Tamil-speaking learners and impart moral education through contextual stories and activities.
Who’s behind Flourish?
Flourish is an entirely volunteer-driven project. While Flourish was initiated at Infant Jesus MHSS, Kalpakkam by Deepak Varuvel Dennison, Rose Mary Joseph, and a team of enthusiastic teachers, it propelled further with the addition of some incredible volunteers, notably Pavithra Murugan, Monica Reddy Kathi, and Medhavi Hassija. Flourish is made possible only with the creative energies of numerous volunteers. To know and appreciate how each volunteer contributed, head to the Credits page.
Who funds Flourish?
Thus far, the initiative has been funded by Dr. Dennison & Mrs. Jeya Dennison of Infant Jesus MHSS, Kalpakkam. We hope to keep this initiative sustainable and thriving with the contributions raised by selling the books.