Read-along with Bollywood

Imagine for a moment that you wake up and were unable to read, what would be the consequences in your life? In India alone, 740 million people are weak readers or illiterate. They cannot read simple text which makes ordinary tasks such as reading medical prescription a challenge. By pioneering a concept called 'Same-Language Subtitling' Brij Kothari has taken India's love of Bollywood and turned watching films with subtitles into improving literacy across the country.

Brij Kothari: Literacy

Brij Kothari is the founder of PlanetRead, a not-for-profit organization that pioneered the concept of “Same-Language Subtitling” to promote mass literacy. Kothari and his team partner with TV stations and media distributors to burn subtitles onto movies and music videos, thus making reading more accessible to India’s rural populations. Kothari learned the impact of illiteracy on a community while performing his doctoral research at Cornell University. “The two years I spent in Ecuador as a researcher brought me face-to face with the literacy problem in India.” Kothari said. “We were documenting the knowledge of the indigenous people and hit along huge literacy barrier. We found that the knowledge was being passed down poorly through an oral tradition.” Kothari has demonstrated that the simple solution of subtitling songs and Bollywood films massively improves literacy and promotes reading across India. Kothari is also CEO of BookBox Inc. producing children’s animated stories in more than 25 languages.

Follow on Twitter: @PlanetRead

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