Published: 18th August 2018
How Kolkata's Reading Right is getting people to fall in love with newspapers again
This MBA graduate's organisation conducts professional classes on how to read newspapers and got a nod from the Government of Andhra Pradesh
We all know that reading newspapers is important, especially for students. Schools always reiterate the importance of reading newspapers while parents are doing the same at homes. But do they religiously read all segments and understand it sufficiently? This is what intrigued Shrishti Jain, Founder of Reading Right, an organisation that conducts professional classes on how to read newspapers. The organisation encompasses a team of ardent readers who research and read articles for more than ten hours on a daily basis.
But how did she come up with such a unique idea? "For the longest time, I struggled with understanding newspapers, especially the editorials, and could never really identify the point of the whole exercise. In our education system, one problem that almost every educator reiterates is the lack of reading newspaper among individuals, right from school students to college goers to students pursuing higher education. Companies, today, have more than 60 per cent employees that go without reading newspapers including some of their best brains. That's when I thought of starting Reading Right," she says.
Nook and corner: After a fantastic response with the segment of students pursuing post graduation and under graduation, Reading Right recently initiated the learning process at the very cornerstone-schools
Reading Right was started in September 2013 after they threw out 13 draft business models. "Several iterations of the business model were made even after that and now we trust we have it right," she avers. The classes address three core aspects for critical reading of newspapers. The first is research. "This aspect is addressed by our research work that goes into selecting the articles for students based on their background and interests. For instance, a student of political science is exposed to the polity and related articles and a student of economics gets articles on the economy as their core. Moreover, each selected article has appended matter, sourced from periodicals and journals that further elucidate the concept," she explains.
The second aspect they address is the ability to comprehend the articles, be it the language, diction, terms and jargon. For instance, business newspapers have a whole volume of business terms. "We ensure that the key concepts are covered in classes in simple terms while handholding how to decipher what the contextual interpretations of these concepts are," she adds. The third aspect is leveraging the newspapers they have read. "For this, we have modules that are practised in class, such as a speed reading module which caters to a quick and crisp understanding of articles and retention and reuse module that ensures they filter and retain the relevant information in the articles for future," she avers.
The organisation has a research wing that extracts articles from more than 50 local, national and international newspapers supported by a gigantic database consisting of other non-fiction material and books
Shrishti Jain, Founder, Reading Right
The art of balancing
Their classes involve a wide range of students — from IAS and other civil service entrance test takers to school students, from MBA aspirants to homemakers, from college goers to job seekers. But at the helm, Reading Right has trainers who are ardent newspaper readers. "Typically our trainers are individuals who are well educated and exposed to the working culture — could be any stream, and are willing to take up reading as a major part of their job; only then can they train others. This is because daily updates and daily research is the basic crux of our work," says Shrishti.
Due to tight schedules and an ample syllabus, how convenient will these classes be for school students? "The convenience depends on a lot of determinants such as the cooperation given by schools and encouragement by parents and teachers. Moreover, since this is crucial to the development of students it must be approached with due attention. Thus if the school takes it up during school hours on a daily basis for even 30 minutes a day, that's a good start. That way parents also align with it and so do the students. It gets imbibed in the system and does not feel like an extra burden," she says adding that the Andhra Pradesh Government’s Planning Department offered to implement this course across schools in AP in 2016.
Out of print
In this digital age, where people can access news with just a click, no one really reads a newspaper so how does Reading Right plan to overcome this barrier? "We work towards ensuring that news is reading the most appropriate manner and in our attempt to cultivate the same, we have crafted the course to be as academic as can be for students. For this to work effectively, it is necessary that the students read off a source that does not distract them with hyperlinks and does not give them a choice to meander from the core content into other side readings. Even if they are reading from websites, we encourage them to take prints and read, so that they can work with the articles in the way we teach them to. We are not against digital news reading but we believe that it is more of a superficial and brisk reading practice one could indulge in on the sidelines, especially with the increasing volume of short news apps coming forth," she concludes.
Reach Out: readingright.in