Telling stories, putting ideas

Katha Jhari, Kannada story cards, tell stories to first generation learners. These attractively illustrated cards are something that a child can easily read and relate to

December 12, 2019 06:16 pm | Updated 06:16 pm IST

The Rajalakshmi Srinivasan Memorial Foundation first published ‘Kathai Aruvi’, the Tamil story cards, in 2003. It was originally conceived to meet the educational needs of children in Tamil medium schools. The story cards had a universal appeal, cutting across language and cultural barriers. The story cards received positive feedback and was seen as a priceless collection. The ‘Kathai Aruvi’ team received several requests for publishing it in other Indian languages. The Hindi version was published in 2007. Subsequently, the cards were brought out in Gujarati, Odiya and recently in Kannada.

Several govt. schools and NGOs are currently using the story cards for promoting reading particularly among underprivileged children in various parts of the country. The stories are written in simple language for primary classes and serve as attractive supplementary reading material that capture the interest and curiosity of children and provide a natural link to their world. Stories and riddles are presented in laminated cards in order to bring the books within the reach of children, to let them touch, feel and see and nurture their love for reading. The card format was chosen to enable several groups of children in a classroom to handle the material simultaneously; it was intended to withstand frequent use.

Why story cards? A large number of children in rural schools are first generation learners. Text books are the only reading material available to them in schools and in their homes. Improved learning achievements are linked to improved reading abilities. For children to become good readers they should have access to wide range of reading materials. Stories widen their horizon and deepen their understanding. Reading and writing happen best when there is a context and children make out the meaning of the text being read. There is a dearth of story books and supplementary reading materials in most primary schools. Library experiences and reading corners inside the classroom can enrich the teaching and learning process and indirectly support classroom learning.

Various research studies have clearly established that children learn easily when their creative imagination and interests are addressed by the teachers and the materials making any learning (including language learning) more meaningful and authentic. Though most of the stories were drawn from within the country, some stories were chosen from other countries as well. Great importance has been given to the illustrations so that a child’s imagination is kindled.

The Kannada Story cards- Katha Jhari, were translated from Tamil to Kannada by the teachers of TVS Academy, Tumkur, Karnataka as early as 2006. The card format attracted their attention. The school started using them with the children at the primary level in their school. Katha Jhari, Kannada version was finally published by RSMF recently from Chennai. The story cards have been made by a team of four educationists, P. Saraswati, V.Vijayakanthi, Dr. L.S. Saraswathi and S. Rajalakshmi in Tamil.

Over the years, the story cards have made considerable direct impact on the education of primary children, The Rajalakshmi Srinivasan Memorial Foundation (RSMF) has been taking it up with NGOs, individuals, organizations, CSR programmes to sponsor the story cards sets to Govt schools/ libraries for underprivileged children in their area of operation. RSMF is a non-profit organization and any contribution to RSMF is exempted from Tax under section 80G. The cost of one set of Kannada story cards (100 laminated story cards) is Rs.1200, inclusive of postage and packing charges.

For details, please email: rajalakshmifoundation < or contact

Rajalakshmi Srinivasan Memorial Foundation (RSMF), Flat No.2, First Floor, Ramapriya Apartments, Plot No.58/A Canal Bank Road, Kandasamy Nagar, East Kottivakkam, Chennai - 600041

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