One of the fundamental requirements of all educational
systems is the adequate provision of relevant and
appropriate reading and other supplementary materials for
use by students and teachers. These materials are the
primary tools that schools use to provide students with
access to the knowledge and skills they are expected to
learn. In its Basic Learning Materials Initiative,
UNESCO asserts, “improvement in the quality of
education depends to a great extent on whether relevant
and high quality books and other learning materials can
be made available to teachers and students”


In India broad guidelines regarding content and process of
education at different stages are formulated by the
national government. These guidelines are further
elaborated by the National Council of Educational
Research and Training (NCERT) in the form of
curriculum frameworks. Following curriculum
frameworks, syllabus, textbooks and related materials are
prepared for school children. So far four curriculum
frameworks have been prepared by NCERT and all these
frameworks emphasized the need of supplementary
materials along with textbooks. The curriculum for the ten
year school-a framework stated that:
'Textbooks have to be considered in the light of the
suggestions in this document that, particularly for primary
classes, it is far more important to prepare teacher's guides
and supplementary materials, and that the broad aims and
objects of education have to be covered by each subject
area in its own specific way. ..The textbooks must not
only inform the reader but also rouse his curiosity to learn
and investigate; this curiosity, in turn, should be satisfied
by suitable supplementary readers.'
National Curriculum for elementary and secondary
education-a framework(NCERT 1988) and National
Curriculum Framework for School Education(NCERT
2000) support and advocate the same thing. According to
the National Curriculum Framework (NCERT 2005) "
'Popular perception treats the textbook as the prime site
for curriculum designing. Though curriculum planning is
a much wider process, curriculum reform seldom goes
beyond changing the textbook. But curricular reform can
go much farther if textbooks are accompanied by several
other kinds of materials... Supplementary books,
workbooks, and extra reading come next.'
Whereas textbooks are written to support a specific course
and relate directly to the syllabus of that course, reference
and general books supplement course textbooks by
offering alternative approaches, provide additional
information and knowledge of subjects not directly
covered by the school curriculum (Roseburg 1998). The
Burke County Board of Education, US in its selection of
textbooks and supplementary materials defines
supplementary learning materials as any and all non-
textbook resources students and teachers use to facilitate
student learning. Examples of supplementary learning
materials include, but are not limited to, books, handouts,
magazines, newspapers, reprinted articles, software
programs, CD’s, DVD's, videos, film clips, and
The importance to the educational process of choice and
access to a wide variety of such reading materials is
widely recognized(Roseburg 1998). Indeed, encouraging
and respecting reading choices are important steps toward
helping children...develop a sense of ownership and self-
determination (Clark & Rum bold 2006). Without such
choice and access, what is taught in the classroom is not
reinforced and the quality and permanence of the benefits
of education are endangered. Such access (Roseburg
develops the ability to read and extends the vocabulary
develops a teaching force which is capable of moving
beyond the confines of set books and textbooks
supplements and enriches work done by students in the
encourages independent access to information and arouses
the interest of students in matters outside the curriculum
provides training in the use and retrieval of information, a
skill which is essential for education and lifelong learning


Learning happens when the students are motivated. For
this motivation, we should try to provide a good learning
environment and establish the students high level of
interest. To achieve this a variety of motivation
techniques, teaching strategies and materials are required.
While books are the central technology of education ,
there are also other tools and sources which have now
become necessary in education. The appropriate selection
and use of materials not only contribute to improved
instruction and performance but also to increased interest
in and enthusiasm for learning (Seeks 2009). Helping
students locate materials of interest and at desired levels
of difficulty is a key aspect to improving their level of
immersion in available printed materials (Clark & Rum
bold 2006).
NCERT has been producing supplementary materials in
English, Hindi and Urdu languages related to different
subjects and themes for all stages of school education
besides audio-video CD's and recent multimedia
packages. So far no study has been done to assess such
supplementary materials from the point of view of its
actual users. There is a need to make serious attempts to
study and find out whether the target readership is able to
easily grasp the language and ideas provided in such
supplementary materials and become curious to read
more. This could be done through try out of the material
with its target readership before finally publishing it. Here
the researcher took up one such supplementary reader
meant for school going children to analyze students'
perception and consider suggestions of its actual users
before publication of the reader.


The supplementary reader which the researcher took up
for the try out study was 'Our India'. This reader, which
was developed by an author outside NCERT, was
thoroughly reviewed by NCERT faculty members in
History and the revised version was taken for try out. As
stated earlier the objective was to see whether the target
readership was able to easily grasp the language and ideas
of the text. To achieve that purpose, the supplementary
reader was given to the students and their opinions were
gathered with regard to the following issues based on
questionnaire and personal interviews.
-reading of the complete text
- difficulty in terms of language
- requirement of glossary
- understanding of the text
- interest regarding the content of the reader
- ability of text in arousing curiosity
- help in understanding History and Political Science


This study was limited to 300 students studying in
Government and Private schools of Delhi and also limited
to readers of only one supplementary reader “Our India”.


This study provides an insight into the readability of the
supplementary reader and suggests measures for
improvement. The modifications/changes made in the
supplementary reader will help the students by providing
them better quality books other than their textbooks. This
will enhance their sources of learning effectively and
fruitfully. The findings also enhances the publication of
better quality supplementary books for students and
teachers as well.


The supplementary reader under study titled 'Our India'
published by NCERT for secondary and higher secondary
stage students and general readers tries to understand
India by looking at ideas that have shaped our lives;
encounters between values and beliefs that have gone into
the making of our civilization and which still continue to
play a significant role in our day to day lives. This book
in particular looks at five civilization encounters of our
recorded history, namely, the intermingling of Aryans
with the earlier inhabitants during the Vedic period; the
advent of Jainism and Buddhism in the 6th century BCE;
the meeting of Hinduism and Islam; the coming of the
British and our epic freedom struggle against them; and
the present information and communication technology
(ICT) revolution. The entire text of the book revolves
around these ideas and related happenings.


This study aimed to see whether the target readership was
able to grasp the language and ideas of the text. The result
of the try-out showed that this reader was good in terms
of language, understanding, attractiveness, coverage,
substance and was effective in arousing students curiosity.
This supplementary reading material though primarily
meant for young children can be used by others also who
have an interest in India's history. It is a well-known fact
that the number of supplementary readers is limited.
Therefore, more such materials should be produced and
some materials should be produced in different formats.


 Burke County Board of Education (2010) Selection of
textbooks and supplementary materials.
 Clark, C. & Rum bold, K. (2006) Reading for
Pleasure: A Research Overview. National Literacy
 National Council of Educational Research &
Training (1975) The Curriculum for the Ten-year
School – A Framework. Author, New Delhi.
 Rosenberg (1998) Supplementary reading: definition
and role. In Rosenberg, D. (Ed.) Getting books to
school pupils in Africa: Education Research Paper.
No. 26, Department for International Development,
London .
 Seeckts, S.B.F. (2009) Use of Supplementary
Materials Enriches Classroom Instruction.