Staff Reporter, Dhaka : JAAGO Foundation, in collaboration with The Asia Foundation, promoted the use of safe internet among children and increased the understanding of digital and blended education of the students along with their parents. It created firsthand access to more than 2500 students and 2500 parents to a virtual learning application which was supported as a vital ICT tool for the learning process. The project encompassed the districts of Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Cumilla, and Barisal. Given the socioeconomic circumstances, these regions had relatively better access to smartphones and the internet, making it ideal for this initiative. A total of 250 young volunteers from these 5 different districts directly worked for the implementation of the activities in 25 schools. The project activities created a secure online environment and improved the grade-wise reading competency of the students through a storytelling approach.
The volunteers capacitated and travelled to the selected schools and read aloud stories from the learning application to the students in different sessions to raise awareness of internet safety and promote productive screen time. More than 2500 students and 2500 parents were introduced and sensitised to the necessary guidelines and information about the app and its practical usage. Youth volunteers guided the students to download the app on their parents’ phones with necessary instruction leaflets. At the end of the session, the participants were given some fun activities to do with a week’s deadline. The respective youth volunteers revisited the schools every 4 weeks to follow up with the students to get updates on the activities. This is so students and parents can again be made aware of the importance of reading and storytelling through the learning app Let’s Read.
One of the parents shared, “Since my child started using the ‘Let’s Read’ app, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in their reading skills. They used to spend hours on their phone playing mindless games, but now they are keen to seek out new stories and books to read on the app. It’s been such a blessing to see my child grow and learn through the joy of reading.”
Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, the country representative of The Asia Foundation, said, “The Asia Foundation believes children need books with characters, themes, and settings that reflect and affirm their lives and provide opportunities to explore the world. To create curious and educated readers for a thriving Bangladesh, children should have access to quality books. Through this initiative, The Asia Foundation, in partnership with JAAGO introduced the Let’s Read initiative to parents, teachers, and Community people, where children have a great opportunity to explore books for free. Every book can be downloaded and printed for offline use.
Founder & Executive Director of JAAGO Foundation, Mr Korvi Rakshand, said, “Let’s Read Together is an initiative designed to allow our children to be aware of safe internet usage and productive screen time. They can find a wide variety of e-books filled with stories, colourful pictures, attractive characters and themes related to their lives. JAAGO Foundation, in collaboration with The Asia Foundation, initiated this movement to create inclusive opportunities for the children, including their parents and the community members directly in the process. I hope it benefits all who need it.”
A teacher from a school in Rajshahi said, “As a teacher, I have seen firsthand the positive impact the ‘Let’s Read’ app has had on my students. They are more engaged in class discussions and able to comprehend and analyse texts at a higher level, and I can’t recommend it enough for any child looking to improve their reading skills and love of literature.”
Nadia, a student from a school in Barisal, said, “I love the ‘Let’s Read’ app! It’s so much fun to explore all the different stories and characters. I never knew reading could be so exciting!”