Little Harshitha has been visiting our office for a while now. She is our caretaker’s daughter who comes to our office in the evenings. A shy girl, Harshitha would hardly talk to us even though my colleagues tried to converse with her. We would ask her to choose any book she wanted and read it if she wanted. But, she would hesitate.
We finally convinced her to get any book she liked. Her choice was the book – The Tree. Slowly, one letter at a time – she started reading. In the picture below, you can see Arathi and Devi encouraging her to read. She read a page and a shy smile erupted. My highly motivating colleagues told her to come back the next day to read more pages from her chosen book.
The next day, she appeared with a smile on her face – while we gently nudged her to get her book. She came back and read a little more.
The following day, she marched into our conference room with confidence – claiming her book on her own and walked over to find her reading mentor. Chai breaks at the Pratham Books office are now punctuated with the sounds of Harshitha reading loudly – word by word, page by page!
She is slowly starting to learn our names and we made a little song and action routine for her to remember them. To our amusement, her mother informed us that she was practicing the name-song at home. Adorable huh?
Today, she finally finished the book she has been reading every day and we got the chance to see her biggest smile erupt. With a bounce in her step, she marched off to tell Arathi that she had finished her book. When Devi finished a work call she was attending, she showed her the new book she was going to read on Monday.
What a coincidence that the book she chose illustrated how a little seed grows into a tree – just like how Harshitha is turning into a confident reader right in front of our eyes.