As a part of our work in the Kokrajhar Language project in Assam, we have produced a set of full colour vocabulary books, The Word Box in four languages: Assamese, Bodo, Santali and Rabha( Kocha variant) for use by children in our classes. The books are: Aran Gola, Sabda Bhandar, Hug Sasang and Swdwb Bakhri . Of these, the two languages Santali and Rabha( Kocha) are in the process of standardization, and very little material is available for children in these languages. Children from these communities often go to Assamese medium schools and struggle to cope academically. Lack of bilingual teaching and additional language support in the educational system is an essential factor in their low academic levels, along with other problems of poverty, conflict, displacement etc.

The "Word Box'' books are specifically designed for children who go to Assamese medium primary schools but speak different languages at home. This is a small step towards remedying the lack of bilingual material for children from diverse linguistic communities who attend Assamese medium schools. The books in Bodo are also important even though Bodo is taught in schools as we feel that sustained support in terms of resources and learning material is crucial to the success of home language medium schools. These books have been the result of our work in this region and have been produced in close association with the communities we are working with as well as academics and Sahitya Sabha members of these respective languages.

The Word box books had their origins in our teacher's attempts to use home language in the classroom ;for younger children, it was a way of introducing them to the Assamese alphabets through words in their own languages that they would be more familiar with. We however found that the books were equally useful for older children whose 'letter-sound' concepts were not clear. Often, the teachers who have had to struggle through similar educational experiences themselves also found these books and their word and letter references useful for clarifying sounds that are alien to their tongues. Using the Santali ( or Rabha) books and the Assamese companion also helped with Assamese language vocabulary acquisition. They work well with 'letter –sound' phonetic exercises, vocabulary building as well as oral language exercises like conversations. From the pictures of objects, there is also the move towards theme based illustrations of topics common to the children. Here too , the children can converse and work with home language, and once they feel ready to , move to the Assamese language books and work on Assamese vocabulary as well. A few easy to read paragraphs have also been added for added reading and listening activities. A National Foundation of India ( NFI) grant made their conceptualization possible. We are also grateful to Wipro Applying Thought in Schools(WATIS) and Pratham Education Foundation.