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Innovation

Nov 24, 2003
The karaoke way to literacy.

Indians love movies and singing. And many Indians can’t read. Okay, what’s the good news? What’s the connection? Prof. Brij Kothari at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad thinks there is.

He has spent many years propounding a theory by which reading habits could be woven into an activity all Indians love: watching video clips on television. India has a large population of functionally literate people whose reading skills are non-existent or extremely poor. On the other hand this group has the potential to become fully literate and this is what Dr Kothari has set out to do.

His idea is extremely simple and do-able at a low cost. Simply add same language sub-titles (SLS) to every video clip that is aired on television. Subconsciously neo-literates watching these clips follow the text and sing along while enjoying themselves. This reinforces the grapheme-phoneme (picture/sound) associations which are weak in early literate people but which are essential to reading skills.

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