Photo provided by Save the Children
Even though more children are enrolled in school today than ever before, the fact remains that 205 million 5- to 12-year-olds cannot read or write, whether they are in school or not (UNESCO). Going to school isn’t enough to ensure learning. And some children – those living in extreme poverty, girls and those with few books or no one to read to them at home – need an extra boost to gain basic reading skills. The gap in reading ability between strong and struggling readers widens with age. That’s why it’s critically important that children learn to read in the early grades, so that they can then read to learn.
Save the Children is addressing the learning crisis worldwide through Literacy Boost, a program designed to help kids – especially the most vulnerable – stay in school and learn both inside and outside the classroom. Literacy Boost improves children’s reading skills by:
- Measuring kids' reading skills to see how well they know their ABCs, sound out words and letters, and read and understand sentences.
- Training Teachers to help children crack the code or reading, keep students engaged and interested in reading books, and use games, songs and stories in literacy lessons.
- Getting communities involved in learning by providing books, libraries and supplies; sponsoring camps, “reading buddies,” and other learning activities; and organizing workshops to help parents support their children’s learning and to create books with locally available materials.
The availability of reading materials is crucial to children’s reading improvement. Children need a wide variety of books and materials with which to practice their nascent reading skills. The variety and complexity of these materials also must keep pace with their developing abilities as readers. However, in the countries and communities where Literacy Boost operates, there is often a lack of appropriately-leveled, relevant and diverse reading materials.
With funds raised through the Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge, Save the Children will be able to reach up to 15,000 children through its signature Literacy Boost program by enhancing the quality, diversity and responsiveness of its book bank resources for children’s reading. Save the Children will:
- Develop a set of 80 non-fiction materials to expand the variety of texts that Literacy boost country programs can adapt to their local languages for children aged 6-8;
- Provide three country programs (Mali in Africa, Nepal in Asia and Peru in Latin America) with resources to adapt and print these materials and provide these texts to Literacy Boost participants in 100 schools (total—typically 30-40 schools per country).