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Librarians Role in Virtual Learning – An Analysis of Survey Responses

By Survey No Comments

Undeterred by a lack of access to physical books and a dedicated library space in the wake of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, school librarians have found a multitude of ways to contribute effectively to the knowledge ecosystem.

In a survey put forth by Ms Heeru Bhojwani inquiring into Librarians’ role during Virtual Learning, 78 librarians have responded with their thoughts. These are mainly individuals from International, CBSE, and ICSE schools as well as from a school run by the Maharashtra State Board along with an NGO. 

Most respondents felt that their role is most useful while finding, collating, and compiling resources that would be useful for students and teachers. Here is a link to the responses.

Resource Curation:

In the words of a survey participant, “as librarians are custodians” of a co-curricular sphere, this period of virtual learning presents an opportunity to “collect and curate excellent samples” of reading material.

These are a few ways in which librarians have put down their contributions on finding and distributing relevant resources:

  • Providing study materials through related websites (including modules from Coursera; online MOOCs; and NPTEL) and worksheets to help students complete their homework and research work successfully
  • Finding copyright-free e-books, audiobooks, or readings of books that may be shared through email, learning platforms such as Google Classroom, or Whatsapp for students to read, listen to, or watch; keeping track of new releases by renowned authors; as well as finding news articles that may be useful for students to read
  • Helping academic teams evaluate e-learning and content databases 
  • Provide resources to help teachers in IB schools with their unit planning
  • Arrange for one-on-one meetings with DP students to help them with their Extended Essay
  • Prepare an inventory of all online sites and tools used for future use

Student Engagement:

Librarians across the board have dabbled in a variety of ways to engage with students, “motivating them to be readers and lifelong learners” as one respondent has expressed. Here are a few highlights from all the librarians’ journeys:

– Pick a topic for a week to conduct book talks (including genre and author discussions) and quizzes through on-screen group discussions; host virtual book club meetings; create online storytelling sessions supplemented by presentations or through shared audio recordings of stories that librarians have produced; promote games that exercise students’ research skills; float ideas for reading projects based on UoI or Learner Profile attributes

– Draft lesson plans from the perspective of transliteracy, looking to introduce students to concepts of information, digital, and media literacy 

– Provide mini-lessons on academic honesty and other aspects that can support the curriculum

– Encourage students to share their reviews of books using creative graphic organizers, and a chance to  showcase the best work on a common platform

– Research destinations that are off the beaten track, as well as rare books, manuscripts, and personalities who may be little known but may have done impactful work in particular areas

– Direct interested students to help create their comic book strips if they wish to do so

– Introduce students to new books that align with their topics of study/skills/concept in focus

– Prompt students to go deeper into a story; understand character motivations, setting, and context if a class is reading the same book at the same time

– Create awareness about COVID-19

– Data collection about students’ reading.

Collaboration and Upskilling:

Librarians have also almost unanimously stated that this period of virtual learning had provided an opportunity to collaborate with teachers and support Home Room Teachers (HRTs) in their work. Help design courses together; assist teachers in implementing blended learning for classrooms, and connecting with the network of librarians across the country to update one’s practices.

This brings a neat segue into the next point that the survey results point to, of upskilling. 

A lot of librarians have used the time to learn new tools such as Google Classroom and explored ways to create or engage with a virtual library platform to make collections digital to reach maximum users. 

Librarians have proposed researching and using new Ed Tech tools, to subsequently train the teaching community if they are unaware of the same. In addition to attending relevant webinars and reading articles about library practices, librarians have continued to “sharpen the saw by enhancing and learning about online teaching as well as more collaborative tools,” as one respondent states.

Everybody―especially librarians―have found myriad ways to make the best use of their time during this period of virtual learning, to help communities engage in more reading, reflection, and enriched exploration.  

Guest Post By Karthika Gopalakrishnan; Head of Reading; Neev Academy, Bengaluru

Understanding Copyright and Fair Use

By Copyright, Fair Use 2 Comments

License: CC0 Public Domain

Let’s Understand Copyright and Fair Use

Last week, I attended an online session by Advocate Anirudh Hariani to understand Copyright and its implications for a librarian in an education world.  

What is copyright?

Here is the Copyright Handbook (India) which should not be replaced for the copyright rules and law. According to the copyright handbook of India,  “Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.”

In short, the creator of any creative original works is the copyright owner of the works and he/she has certain rights over their creation.

What do creative original works mean? 

In short, creative works include:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;
  • Cinematograph films; and
  • Sound recordings.
  • Painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;
  • Work of architecture; and artistic craftsmanship.

How does information and knowledge in our society grow?

Society’s knowledge and growth take place on the creative works of others.  What one scientist does, or an author writes, becomes an inspiration for others to create and help take the society forward. 

Therefore, ideas need to be acknowledged, appreciated so that society can flourish. Therefore, creators like writers, artists and software programmers and others are acknowledged, appreciated and this is done by giving them the protection and ownership of his/her works through copyright.

What are the exclusive rights given to the creator of the original work?

What can the copyright owner do with the rights? The copyright laws give exclusive rights to the creator:

  •  To reproduce the work
  • To issue copies of the work to the public
  • To perform the work in public
  • To communicate the work to the public.
  • To make cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work
  • To make any translation of the work
  • To make any adaptation of the work.

And he/she has copyright rights for approximately his life span + 65 years (time span differs depending on the creative works). It protects the creator of the artistic work.

Strict application protecting the copyright may hamper economic and social development. So, therefore, the government has provided necessary exceptions and limitations to ensure a balance for the creators and growth of the community. 

What are the exemptions?

Can we use works of authors without the permission of the owner of the copyright, and, if so, what are they? And How?

  • We can use the copyright works 
  • For the purpose of research or private study
  • For criticism or review
  • For reporting current events 
  • In connection with a judicial proceeding 
  • Performance by an amateur club or society if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, and 
  • The making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.

What about Education and Copyright?

Educators and schools use purchased copyrighted materials like textbooks and teacher resources to teach students. Points to know:

  1. India often refers to TRIPS – Article 13 and Berne Convention whereby people can use the creative works of others but must not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the copyright holder (author/creator)
  2. Fair Dealing must balance the rights of “Pool of Ideas” to create a robust and vibrant domain and not be an impediment to social growth.
  3. ‘‘Substantial’ Materials can be photocopied to support independent research and learning of school (however, we must be careful not to infringe on the interests of the copyright holder as far as possible.)
  4. The copied work must be transformative in nature.

For more information, check out this 1 hr explanation of the Vidhya Mitra Or the Recording of Copyright discussion with Advocate Anirudh Hariani

So, the question arises – what does ‘substantial’ amount mean? What does it mean by ‘unreasonable prejudice’? This varies on a case by case. For example, a jingle is a short phrase, if you use a substantial part? Will it be an infringement of the creator’s copyright or can we use a part of it under Fair Use?   Therefore, it is necessary to understand infringement based on various criteria mentioned below.

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is a part of copyright law that enables people to make legal  use of copyrighted materials without payment or permission under some circumstances, especially for uses related to broad and important social goals to the development of innovation and spread of knowledge including teaching and learning, news reporting, scholarship, criticism and commentary

4 factors that determine  or tell you that you are using the copyright materials under Fair Use Guideline

  1. Check – Purpose of the use
  2. Check – Nature of the copyrighted work
  3. Check – The amount and substantiality of the portion 
  4. Check – Whether it affects the market for the original?

What about educators/librarians in the Education Space?

Technology has made is very easy for us to copy & paste from the Internet and so what is my job as an educator and/or librarian

What is my responsibility as an educator? As an educator, I need to:

  1. Learn the facts about copyright
  2. When in doubt, get permission
  3. Demonstrate respect for copyright material 
  4. Learn about Fair Use
  5. Demonstrate use of Fair Use by evaluating and thinking critically
  6.  Understand the Creative Common Licenses 

Individuals/educators have 4 choices when using copyrighted material (texts and images)

  1.  Pay a license fee (Ask permission)
  2.  Claim fair use ( Just use it – analyse it under the 4 criteria)
  3.  Select public domain or royalty-free or creative commons licensed content
  4.  Don’t use it

Please know that everything is written or online is copyrighted. attached to all work. Even if the sign does not exist – it is still copyrighted.

What does it mean to our Students:

  • Students will learn and need to respect the work of others by paraphrasing and not copy & paste
  • Students will acknowledge the works of others and  learn to cite their sources using  citation tools like or citation machine 
  • Young students in the primary section could at least cite the title and author of the book, magazine and/or websites and develop the habit of making references

You may use this Common Sense Media – Copyright and Fair Use video to teach students about Copyright & Fair Use. 

There are many Open Education Projects that support open education. They are: 

Understanding Fair Use and Infringement may be unclear. Using for educational purposes does not necessarily make a use fair. Nor does using a portion of a copyrighted work for commercial purposes make it unfair.

Therefore THINK and  ASK? –  Is it TRANSFORMATIVE?

Frequently asked questions about Copyright & Fair Use?

Q1. Can I take information and ideas from the internet to create my lesson plans and do I need to cite it all the time?

Answer: Yes, you can take ideas and information to create lesson plans. You do not have to cite it all the time. You are creating the lesson plans under the fair use guidelines for education, and not for personal gain, and the purpose is to educate students, you can use them as lesson plans. 

Q2. Can I take information and ideas from the internet and create my own book and sell?

Answer: Yes, you can take information but you will need to cite your sources. Your new work must be transformative in nature and can exist without impediment to the sale of your source. It needs to be different. However, you can add hyperlinks to other known sites and information to your work.

Q3. Can I circulate pdfs of books like Magic Tree House, Two States,  Meluha, Tinkle magazines, Amar Chitra Katha, books by Enid Blyton etc for educational purposes?

Answer: No, you cannot circulate these books which are copyrighted, even if it’s for educational purposes because it directly affects the sale and market of the creator. You may circulate books that are in the public domain and available directly by the publishers or authors?

Q4. How do I know that the information is free to use on the Internet?

Answer: You will need to look at the licenses of the author/illustrator/photographers provided by them. You will need to learn about Creative Common Licenses.

Q5. When can I teach students about fair use and copyright?

Ans: You can teach students about fair use and copyright,  right from Kindergarten choosing appropriate examples and opportunities especially when they are doing projects. For example, KG and Std 1 students can show and tell where they got the information from – whether it is a book, from people or from the internet. As they move into the upper primary section, they can write the title of the book, write the website name and finally move them into citing their sources appropriately. And, most important is that students will need to paraphrase and share their views and opinions based on her/his research.

Q6. Can I use an image from the internet under the Educational Fair Use Guidelines?

Answer: 1. As an ethical user of information, it is necessary for you and the students to use images from stock photos, Google images  — after you have used the filter for copyright-free images, Pic4Learning Creative Commons Search

2. Playing ignorant and using copyright images under fair use guidelines, is not being ethical.

Q7. I want to use a copyrighted image or text – Could I still use it?

Answer: Yes, you can use it however, you will need to justify the use under these guidelines: 

  1. Am I using it for educational purposes?
  2. Ask what license is the present work that you are taking
  3. How much are you taking – all or some?
  4. Does it have an impact on the market value of the original?
  5. Have I repurposed the work?

The concept of copyright in Education is a moral and ethical matter.  As an ethical educator, it is necessary, especially when the educator is showcasing, or running a professional discussion, or sharing learning and teaching in the public space outside the classroom it is a good practice to cite the references, thus adding credibility to your work while acknowledging the work of others

Works Cited: 

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Media Education Lab, Center for Social Media, 2008.

“A Handbook of Copyright Law.” Hand Book of Copyright Law, Government of India Department For Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Ministry of Commerce and Industry,

Hobbs, Renee, and Donna E. Alvermann. Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Corwin, 2010.


Virtual Class for Librarians

By Librarian's Role, Literacy, Virtual Learning One Comment

Tina Franklin libros y ebooks, Flickr

During the lockdown and virtual classes, librarians are looking out for ways to connect with students, teachers and the community. 

So, what can librarians do during this time of virtual learning with students?

Virtual Learning eBooks

During this time, librarians can capitalize on all the beautiful eBooks available for students. An opportunity to use the interactive eBooks where the books are either animated and read aloud rather than the pdf versions.  Many Pdf’s are floating around, but as ethical users of information, we must ensure that our students are using the eBooks ethically. Fair use guidelines may not always be used, especially when eBooks are available for purchase or shared by the vendors at discounted rates or free. 

Let’s capitalize on the eBooks that are offered for free by the companies.

Library Classes – Virtual

During the library online classes, we can capitalize this moment to create a love for reading and writing. Instead of using activities like – making your bookmark, asking questions like who is the character? what is the moral of the story? Let us use this opportunity to ask open-ended questions? Questions that help students think and help students develop the 21st-century skills of thinking analytically, critically or even having their own opinions and perspectives of stories that they read.

Examples of Virtual Learning eBooks

Vooks is offering a 1-month free trial. A kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. A curated list of eBooks that help builds vocabulary, love of reading, immersion, and fluency. 

For example, Title fo the book: The Easter Unicorn is a story about an Easter Bunny who is away on vacation, when a magical unicorn comes to the rescue, saving Easter Day!

Here is a list of activities that might go with the story:

Activity 1: Students can read the picture and retell the story and record the story using the Flipgrid app (video response)

Activity 2: Students can research and draw three magical creatures that do not exist.

Activity 3: Students can write a paragraph, describing a unicorn to someone who hasn’t seen one. 

Activity 4: Students can research and describe why rabbits are related to easter?

Activity 5: Students can explain why easter celebration is in April?

Virtual Learning Activity

RazPlus is offering a 2-month free trial. A guided reading program, with lesson plans and discussion cards. Try this out. For example: Title of the book: Gorillas by Keera Freed.

Gorillas are the largest primates in the world. Gorillas is an informative text that highlights how gorillas survive in the forests of Africa. The book can also be used to teach students how to identify main idea and details as well as to summarize to better understand the text. If you want to teach using the skills, get this trial and learn new teaching strategies and apply them to your students. (Available on Discussion Cards of the story)

  • How are gorillas similar and different than human beings (Skill of compare and contrast)
  • Why do you think humans teach gorillas sign language. How does this help man and animals? (Analysis)
  • Why might gorilla babies ride on their mother back (Make inferences & draw conclusions)
  • Why are gorillas endangered? (Cause and Effect)
  • How can people help gorillas? (Evaluate)

VooksA streaming service for kids, where storybooks come to life!

Finally, a better screen time option. Title of the book: Inventors, who changed the World.

Activities related to the story:

  • What qualities or characteristics should a person have to become an inventor? What are some traits you may have?
  • Select on the inventions you learned about and explain how it has impacted the world.
  • Research on the internet and find out three inventions in the 21st century that have positively impacted the world and explain.
  • What would happen if inventors did not share their failed research ideas and successful ideas with the world? 
  • Why is it important to share ideas with others? How is it beneficial to the community?
  • What is the author’s purpose in writing the story? How do you know it?

StoryWeaver is another free eBook resources that students can use to inquire, think critically and use the eBooks to create stories.

Title of the book: More or Less? Need to Guess! ,Written by Gayathri Tirthapura, Illustrated by Sahitya Rani – So many mithai boxes to count, so little time! Can Ranjita and Vikram do it? Yes, using a cool math trick called ‘Approximately More-or-Less’! Read this fun wedding story to learn the trick yourself. 

Activity 1: What was the problem in the story and how was it solved?

Activity 2: Describe a wedding that you last attended? 

Activity 3: What is the author’s purpose for writing the story? Is it to inform? Entertain or Persuade? How do you know that? Explain

Activity 4: Create a story that will help solve a math problem.

Activity 5: What genre is this story? Explain.

GetEpic:  An online eBook Platform: Title of the Book: The Trojan Horse: The Fall of Troy.

Ancient Greece’s best warriors battled their enemies, the Trojans, in a desperate attempt to win back King 

  • What genre is this story?
  • How is a myth different from historical fiction?
  • Describe the external and internal characteristics of the main character?
  • Who are the supporting characters and how do they bring out the best qualities of the main character?
  • Rewrite the Greek Myth using Indian setting and characters
  • What are some of the Indian myths you have heard? How is it different and similar to the Indian myths

For more eBook Resources – check out the Liferarian Padlet

Nonfiction Genres – What are the different forms?

By General No Comments

Every library has a collection of fiction and nonfiction books for students, teachers, and community.

Nonfiction books are usually a collection of facts based on research, evidence, and formal structure. According to the Oxford dictionary, nonfiction prose writing is informative or factual rather than fictional.

Nonfiction texts are presented in various forms. Some of them are – newspapers, magazines, academic paper, textbooks, manuals, travel guides, biographies, and press releases.

In the past 10 years, I have found the popularity of a variety o nonfiction writing styles to appeal to readers making the information far more interactive and meaningful.

Here is a gentle reminder to us to teach the different nonfiction genres to our students. You can use a couple of lessons to teach students about the nonfiction genre. You can read different types of nonfiction genres and help them identify, write, and create their very own collection. Research and facts are vital to writing any form of nonfiction books.

In the present-day context, nonfiction can take the form of essays, narrative documentaries, expository writing, persuasive writing, and descriptive explanation. Each of these forms of books entails research by the author.

With Genrefication of the collection becoming popular in many libraries, knowing the different nonfiction genres can help in the collection development. You can build the nonfiction collection by being mindful of the different styles. Libraries have a large percentage of nonfiction texts, therefore understanding the different forms of nonfiction texts can help build the library collection, thus meeting the needs of the various readers.

What are some of the different forms of nonfiction genres?

Narrative Writing

Tells a true story of an event, place, or person. It is sometimes written in the first person, “I.”

Expository Writing

This style of the book includes facts in the way of explanation of a topic. For example: How can the world save water that can positively impact water conservation.

Persuasive Writing

These books the author takes on a perspective on an issue and argues for or against the opposing side. The author uses facts and information to influence his audience. Often these are editorials in a magazine, newspaper of books.

Descriptive Writing or Narrative Nonfiction

Descriptive nonfiction often allows the reader to examine or explore the topic visually. The author uses sensorial language, rich details, and figurative language to appeal to the readers. Often these can be travelogues or explanation of an event, personal essay, memoirs or stories about animals, planets. There are many types of descriptions of Nonfiction Genre. You can use one that suits your students, whether elementary, middle, or high school.

Examples of nonfiction texts for Adults are:

Expository Writing: Nazia Erum’s debut book ‘Mothering a Muslim: The Dark Secret in Our Schools and Playgrounds’
Persuasive Writing: Dr Yusuf’s Merchant’s ‘Happyness: Life Lessons from a Creative Addict’
Narrative nonfiction: ‘Eleven Ways to Love’ by various authors
Descriptive Nonfiction Kama: The Riddle of Desire’ by Gurcharan Das

Examples of nonfiction texts for Middle & High School

Expository Writing: Spreading Your Wings: A Health Infocomic for Girls of All Ages (Age: 9+) by Ariana Abadian-Heifetz, Pia Alizé Hazarika
Narrative nonfiction: Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia (Paperback)S. Hussain Zaidi
Persuasive Writing: What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat
Descriptive Nonfiction: How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company by Varun Agarwal

Examples of nonfiction texts for Elementary/Primary School

Expository Writing: What If The Earth Stopped Spinning And 24 Other Mysteries Of Science
Narrative nonfiction: Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
Persuasive Writing: Riddle of the Ridley by Shekhar Dattatri
Descriptive Nonfiction: Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga

Please do include your favourite nonfiction title in the comment box

What should I be Reading to Children in January 2020

By Indian Literature, Librarian's Role, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading Program One Comment

Reading Stories & Information

How can you build a growth mindset with Reading? How can you help build knowledge, perspective and develop the habit of good reading for children? it is when adults model and read the right text, at the right time through open discussions. So what do we do?

India is blessed with a variety of religion, culture and language. It is a celebration all year round. You and I can take this opportunity to invite our students to learn about the festivals and purpose behind the holidays.

 Most importantly look for a common thread, a theme that overlaps one another.  A common theme will bring unity, understanding and respect that we owe to all human beings. It will lift us from a basic description of festivals to thinking about the cause, impact and importance of the festival.

What should I read to my students/children in January or the Winter months in India?  What can librarians and teachers read to students?

Reading For Young Children:

  1. New Year Celebrations is often recognized by students as the beginning year with promises and resolutions. This book The Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Leg by Pratham will help invite students to think about kindness, care and make decisions to begin a year with empathy. Children can either discuss, share or write on index cards -about their resolution and stick it on the resolution tree on the bulletin board.
  2. This Book Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Sindhi & Other F…by VyanstGurivi G shares why and how different festivals are celebrated. And this one can be used to think of the similarities, and the differences among the festivals Lohri, Pongal and Makar Sankranti – each of them related to harvest time. The compare and contrast reflection sheets help in teaching students to evaluate works about similar topics offer positions of differences within the subject – while developing a theme.

Reading about Important dates in January 2020

Reading & Question

Time and Date tells us the events in India

Jan 1Wednesday New Year’s Day Restricted Holiday

Jan 2Thursday Guru Govind Singh Jayanti Restricted Holiday

Jan 14Tuesday Lohri Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Pongal Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday

Jan 25Saturday Chinese New Year Observance

Jan 26Sunday Republic Day Gazetted HolidayJan 29Wednesday 

Jan 29 Wednesday  Vasant Panchami Restricted Holiday

Reading and Discussions with Older Students in January 2020

Reading, Thinking & Analyzing

Republic Day 

Instead of colouring the flag, asking students, what happens on Republic Day, who was the first president, as educators we need to ask open-ended and higher-order thinking questions that can promote thinking and analyses. It is a challenging process for teachers to deal with controversial topics, if we do not do take the responsibility, then who will?

  1. Researching on what it means for India to be a Republic?
  2. How is India’s Republic Status different from other countries Republic Status?
  3. Does it mean the same for all the countries – Explain?
  4. How is the  CAB bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) an extension of the Republic? Why is it a pressing bill?
  5. How can we ensure that CAB and National Register of Citizens bills are well understood?

Media Literacy with Reading

Teaching when done at the right time, becomes the Aha Moment! that we look for – Relevant and Timely. This is the time to introduce Media Literacy and look into biases and perspectives of different people by asking these questions? 

  • Who wrote or created the video, app, meme?
  • Does the author have credible credentials to back the information?
  • Why was it created?
  • Does the information match with other websites?
  • Are these different points of view?

If the article or media creates a strong emotive (positive or negative) reaction, we must remember to hold off and not jump to conclusions. Unless we read extensively about different perspectives and then draw informed decisions based on personal knowledge. We need to remember to hold off before spreading and passing on the information, especially if it is biased and/or has only one point of view. 

Responsible Digital Citizen & Reading

The internet has allowed everyone to share their voice and opinions. But, that doesn’t mean, everyone who shares on the internet is well informed when making opinions. It is crucial to learn how to be a responsible digital citizen. While discussing controversial topics, it is important for the teacher, to provide newspaper cuttings, articles from different sources to build on information, analyze, think and clarify. 

New Year Reading Topic for Older Students

Older students can also look up the history of ‘New Year Celebrations’ – What it means to different people in different religions and countries. 

  • How can we be respectful and celebratory of all religions? The Bahaii, Islam, Hindu, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians all have different days for their New Year.

    Read & Discuss with a Heart!

  • What can we do as a nation to build solidarity, empathy and dignity of all? 

What is a Discussion?

A good rule for analysis or discussion needs to be based on hard facts and a soft voice. A discussion should be an attempt to explore and understand the subject from all points of view and not a clash of who is right or wrong.

Discussion is not a debate – no one is right or wrong. It is an attempt to emphatically listen to each other. The teachers’ job here is that of a facilitator, not taking sides, recognize and encourage fact-based discussion with an emphasis on the origin of the information.  (Where did the information come from and what makes you stand by that information – is it based on facts or opinions) Ensure that we build a community of learners with a heart.

Teachers as Reading Facilitators

Open discussions and respect of varied opinions are a part of a matured mind and elevated intellect. 

Having robust discussions about politics, religion are challenging but not impossible. An excellent reminder to the teachers and students would be to remember, we all are humans, we all have rights and responsibility, and it is necessary to adopt and include all members of the human society while each one performing their responsibilities. 


How to Create a Culture of Reading in 2020 and be successful?

By General, Reading and Writing 2 Comments

Reading is the most essential ingredient of a successful life. All successful people besides being talented, resourceful, and working smart they are readers. They read all kinds of books to build on their imagination, courage and foresight.

Society Reads

Why is Reading Important in Today’s Society?

Through reading, you can learn about new important developments. It gives us an understanding of different angles of life.

  • Reading helps individuals build a large spectrum of information that leads to knowledge.
  • Reading helps you understand the impact of the social, economic, environmental changes on life.
  • Self-help books help you learn about new strategies when dealing with life changes.
  • Helps you learn about different peoples way of living, their ideas, beliefs and gives you their perspective of living, making you become openminded.

Most of all, reading helps us become appreciative and tolerant of other peoples beliefs and value systems and we are all a part of the human race, shouldn’t we, therefore, be accepting of different ways of living?

Why is Reading Important For Adults?

Every Adult Reads

One of the most important attributes of successful people is that they all read. Reading builds the cognitive ability of individuals, builds vocabulary, thinking skills, and concentration. Each of these skills is essential for individual growth, success and meaningful life.

Adults who read with meaning begin to question, thus, making them analytical in their approach. Thinking minds help adults to make decisions based on reason. Life is lived in grey areas, reading helps you become knowledgeable helping you make decisions that require a balance of the head and the heart. Reading creates that balance.

Reading both fiction and nonfiction helps keep the balance. Reading fiction helps open up different life situations and develops the emotional intelligence and social balance helping people live longer. Reading nonfiction builds on the intelligence and the cornucopia of content knowledge.

Every Child Reads

Why is Reading Important for Children?

Children who read are confident learners. They learn language, vocabulary and the syntax of the language without much effort. Reading with meaning and developing comprehension skills are important. Comprehension skill does not only mean only to understand the story and know what happened in the end. It involves different aspects of thinking.

  • Question and Answers
  • Character analysis
  • Analyzing settings
  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Visualization
  • Synthesizing a large size of contents
  • Identifying the themes
  • Reviewing authors perspective
  • Author’s point of view

Reading critically helps children become better communicators.

Why Should Teenagers Read?

Every Teen Reads

Teenagers brains and minds during their teen years are in search of love, support, encouragement, acceptance, attention and direction. Teenagers need directive support, not overbearing parents who make demands on them.

  • Reading helps teenagers develop the courage to choose and make decisions that would be beneficial to them.
  • Reading unlike videos can be impactful as the richness of the text, in the form of character and events that happen in the story, build on identity and personality development.
  • Internal and external conflicts that arise within the context of the story have resolutions that provide courage, passion and empathy for teenagers to identify with.

Fictional stories of sports, romance, adventure, science fiction, mystery, historical & realistic fiction provide courage and support to make decisions and direction for their dreams, passions and adventure. Reading provides a safe space for them to explore their own beliefs, ideas and ideals.

How Can YOU Build a Culture of Readers?

Firstly, there are no shortcuts in life. All good things need effort. Delicious meals need effort, a designer outfit needs effort and to buy beautiful things in life need money and effort.

Similarly, to build a home of readers we need the support of parents (adults), teachers, and friends. Here is an article from an academic journal that shows there is a correlation between success and reading. According to Scholastic Education, the volume of reading is also essential. It builds stamina, interest and builds resilience.

Reading is a life skill that opens the doors to growth and progress with confidence.

What do you mean by ‘Culture of Reading’?

Read, Read, Read

A culture of readers means that the family places reading as an essential ingredient in life. From a child’s perspective, he sees his/her parents read, the grandparents reading – it can be in any language. The child notices the importance of reading is established in the school.

Every member of the family spends some time of the day – reading. This is how the culture of reading is established.

How do you build ‘Culture of Readers?

Here are some of the ways you can build a culture of readers:

  1. Giving readers an opportunity to read based on their choice. It can be reading a magazine, fiction, nonfiction, folklore, poetry or even a newspaper.
  2. Readers could be given a choice reading on a device or using physical books. (Social media posts don’t apply to this)
  3. Set reading goals. Each member of the family makes their own goal. Goal ideas maybe –
    • To read one book from different genres in six months.
    • Read with someone
    • Join a book club
    • Older siblings can read to little ones or even a pet
    • Read with children/parents
    • Have newspaper articles discussion: identify a topic in news and have the discussion for a week and then change the topic. The first week it could be about local politics, the next week it could be about fashion, the third week it could be about sports; so on and so forth
  4. Most importantly, let the child or adult have a choice of selecting the genre or the reading topic or choice of book or author.

A Reader is a Winner

Successful Readers

Successful readers are insightful, they have better experience in understanding problems. According to Oxfam  India has approximately 74% Literacy rate. It means that 74% can read, write and comprehend information so that they can effectively communicate, and this includes road signs. In this study, only the basic level of literacy is measured.

However, thinking critically, analytically and communicating effectively and using language comes only with deep reading. Reading is important in every aspect of physical, emotional and social growth.

Successful readers are the trigger of modernization, communication and commerce. Good readers comprehend the social and political environment and can respond appropriately. The deeper the literacy and understanding, the greater the awareness to improve social and economic conditions. It is correlated to social upliftment. The more literate the person, a better understanding of health, hygiene and self-worth.

Reading is like a window and a mirror

Window because it shows you different perspectives, different ideas and insights of many different cultures, work and topics

Mirror because it reflects your experiences, feelings, ideas, values and thoughts.

Let’s read you and me and open our world of optimism and a support growth mindset.

How and Why to Teach Fairy Tales?

By Book Talk, Children's Book Award, Fairy Tales, International School No Comments

Building imagination.

What is a fairy tale?

Recently, on a Whatsapp group, I received a BBC description on Swedish folklore. It described how folklores had a profound psychological impact on people. It made me think about Grimm’s fairy tales, stories I grew up reading. These were written by Grimm and Wilhelm who published the Grimms’ Fairy Tales.  Many experts have analysed these stories and have their various viewpoints. Some describe the fairy tales as evil and I wonder how it does these stories resonate with our present lifestyles? Many believe it to be an expression, an expression to help build imagination and intrigue.

So, what is a fairy tale? Fairy tales are stories and fall under the folklore genre. Fairy tales are unique in their style. They have elements like royalty, magic, hero/heroine, villain, problem & solution, a universal lesson. Fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time” and the ending with “happily ever after”.  However, all fairy tales do not start and end in that fashion.  There are other fairy tales like Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, that doesn’t end with “happily ever after”. The French writer, Perrault wrote Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, The Fairies, Tom Thumb and other stories that were later translated in many different languages.

Should I teach it?

Elements of a Fairy Tale

Hannah McCarley, in her research called: From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After: Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Early Childhood Development, describes the social and emotional impact on the child. These stories make compelling gender claims. In many stories, for example, beauty is made to be an essential aspect for growing girls, and this is seen in the tale Cinderella. In Snow White, the female character tries hard to be the most beautiful person, a sign of vanity. It indicates that the physical appearance is essential for a woman and the man wants to possess her as a piece of art.  An article written by Stephen Evans on BBC Culture describes the fairy tales as being “the twisted world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales”. He says, “these stories have mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide and incest.”He continues to say, should they have been video games for children, they might have probably been banned or received some flak.” So, should I be teaching it?

Why should I teach it?

These stories are parts of historical literature and can be used as a discussion when relating to research. Fairy tales can be used to discuss gender roles and other cultural behaviours. Fairy tales teach students some realities of life. They provide an opportunity to discuss the cultural heritage as history. Some authors believe that fairy tales are a bridge between fantasy and realities of life. However, fairy tales are a part of literature. The very fact that it has not faded away makes it a classic. So teaching it in the present, needs teachers to be creative in a way that fairy tales build a bridge to understanding the past with the gift. It can also be taught using the literary style of writing and keeping the elements of the fairy tale in mind.

How should I teach it?

The News Republic, on the other hand, agrees with the violence of the fairy tales but claims that the encourage heroic deeds for the young boys and help fearful girls to become brave but finally to settle with a prince. How appropriate are these stories for the present-day lives? How can we use this literature to help students think, wonder and transform?

You can use the French and English fairy tales and compare it with the Indian tales that have similar fairy tales features. You can use stories like the Ivory and the Fairy Princess,  Diamond Cut Diamond, Folklore of Bengal, and some printed ones are Anklet for a Princess (similar to Cinderella) and Indian Fairy Tales.  (Read Write Document sample)

What can librarians do with fairy tales?

Book Discussion & Writing

Librarians can use fairy tales as a unit of discussion for a month.

  1. Discuss cultural differences.
  2. Compare and contrast fairy tales from different countries.
  3. Discuss gender aspects.
  4. Craft different endings to the fairy tales.
  5. Use the fairy tale elements to rewrite it to make it appealing to the modern setting. For example: Use the Jack and the Beanstalk and let the plot deal with current issues. Ask questions like, What if Jack was climbing up the ladder of success, instead of the tree. What would his experience be? Describe what he would see, what are the different aspects that may cause his fall, who would be the ogre? And how would Jack reconcile at the end? Another example: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, change the stepmother into a nice person and transform the story – all stepmothers aren’t bad.
  6. For younger students, students can create their fairy tales using any elements of a fairy tale; magic, once upon a time, fairies, royalty, problem and solution.
  7. For high school students, they can create a drama script of the fairy tale.
  8. Readers theatre for all ages

Librarians must move away from colouring and bookmark making activities to more meaningful engagements to support students love for reading and building on their literacy skills of analysis and deeper comprehension.

Fairy Tale Resources

Here is another resource that can help the librarian. Fairy tale ideas for preschool. Read Write Think resources for fractured fairy tales and other resources for all ages. And, more resources for teaching fairy tales to high-school students. 

Are Classics Worth It?

By Book Reports, Book Talk, General No Comments

Are classic books worth the time and effort? Are they relevant to today’s time and place? Some adults: parents, teachers, and librarians swear by it and feel, if the students haven’t read any classics – they have wasted their time! However, with the changing times, some find that classic books must be shared with the young. It could be done by incorporating movies.

What makes a book a classic? Italo Calvino’s 14 Criteria for What Makes a Classic

Fundamentally, the work focuses on the style of writing or if it is a new entry in a particular genre. Secondly, it addresses fundamental topics in beauty stimulating visual delight or describes the complex nature of the socio-economic-political structure of a specific place and time. Thirdly, the book reflects values that transcend race, time, and location, providing profound wisdom and teachings of life.

A way to engage students in delving into classic literature might be to introduce students to movies based on these classics. Discussing value systems, character, the period the story was written in, settings, and/or author’s purpose. For example, using Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you could describe the lifestyle of the girls that grew up in those times and compare and contrast them with the present times’ virtues, and freedom. Discuss the role of women and men who lived in those times and now, in the present. How much has changed and what has remained the same? How can we change and evolve? Why should we develop, grow and change? 

Another example could be Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Why did she write this book, what prompted her to write? What are the experiments related to stem cells? Could these experiments have been influenced by the story or any other literature? How are the different characters in the story relatable? What conditions or situations in the story remind you of our present-day problems? How were outliers viewed in the previous century as compared to the present day? Here are some links to peruse and use for classic analysis with films. 

 PBS Movies with lesson plans

CommonLit – Lesson Plans

Youtube list that houses a variety of Classics

World Classics Movies list

Audio List of Classics

When students watch the movie and read excerpts from the book, impressions about the character, research on the topic, debates and writing reflection can become an interesting learning experience. Variations in the film and its narration can sometimes be taken off from the book narration, those experiences or topics or themes can be analyzed and discussed.

School Library Association – India

By General, Librarian's Role, School Library Association No Comments

School Librarian Association’s first Newsletter for you! SLAI Scoop FINAL(SLAIndia Newsletter) Vol.1 Issue 1 Oct (002). 2019

School Library Association – India has recently been given a separate entitlement in India. Earlier, they were clubbed under one umbrella of all Indian Libraries. But, school Librarians are a different breed altogether. They have come a long way from being merely a book collector or a maintainer of the resources to playing several dynamic roles in an educational organization. Right from organizing the library, supporting and building the curriculum, to transforming the library into a creative space using all kinds of resources building on students’ imagination and dreams.

Librarians work towards building and supporting all forms of literacy from language, research, technology, et.all, contributing to the emotional, social wellbeing of various individuals through stories, and becoming knowledgeable.

The mission of the School Library Association India is to serve as a national platform. It aims at supporting professionals as knowledge ambassadors (SLA – India) while collaborating with all government bodies to support School Librarians.

The main aim is to:

  • Advocate for school libraries
  • Promote understanding of school librarians and their role
  • Integrating and raising the standards of school library programs into the curriculum
  • Promote research, publication and support professional development
  • Promote all forms of Literacies

Information about awards and grants can be found on this page. All updates and communications can be found on this website.

Librarians support Reading OR Learning?

By General One Comment

Librarians are always associate with READING, I wonder WHY? Shouldn’t we be associated with LEARNING?
My colleague and I were talking about why is reading the key purpose of the librarian’s role. Are we teaching students to read letters to make into words, OR are we inspiring students to think and learn, providing the resources to create, evaluate and build on their belief system and supporting and providing information to build on their knowledge?

The definition of reading is defined as an action or skill of reading. When we use the word READING, we use reading as an act to scaffold the content of the subject, so that individuals have a better understanding of the topic or subject. Librarians are in the role of providing opportunities to students to either scaffold, peel out or support students to dive deep into the content.

When librarians read aloud, we often focus on what is obvious. We ask questions like – Who is the character? Where is the setting of the story? What happened at the end of the story? What is the moral of the story? Students pretty much know these answers. We need to challenge the students to ask questions beyond the basic and ask Questions like: Why do you think so? What might happen if…? How is this connected to our lives or our future generation…? How has it changed over time…? Why is the change necessary? What are the different aspects that have led to the change…? How can we make sure that when we are writing, we are paraphrasing, evaluating, synthesizing and finally citing our sources