Worldreader

the literacy ledgerReflections, findings, stories and the lowdown

Worldreader’s Biggest Launch Yet: All Children Reading

February 15, 2013 By

Ghana is a special place for us. It’s where Worldreader first launched our “Books for all” vision in 2010, and in the last couple of years, it has become our hub in Western Africa.

Today we’re thrilled to report some exciting news from Ghana: we’ve just kicked off our “All Children Reading” initiative due to a $300,000 grant we received recently from USAID, World Vision, & AusAID.  This joint grant greatly expands Worldreader’s presence in Ghana and allows for even deeper monitoring and evaluation.

This project means that as many as 1,800 kids and family members now have access to hundreds of thousands of e-books.  And it’s an important milestone for us: this is our largest e-reader launch yet and includes a local language too.

Suhum Primary students expressing their joy to having a library of books in their own hands.

Our Ghana team has been busy training teachers, who in turn will teach students how to use their Kindles. Things like changing font sizes, organizing book collections and finding books in English and Twi are top of mind, along with developing ways to integrate digital reading into the classroom lesson plans.

Michael, Samuel, Beatrice and Joseph — our team on the ground in Ghana — tell us that the teachers are attentive and interested in bringing technology into the classroom. But there’s a normal sense of nervousness and excitement about the student launch, too.

As we’ve seen in other places and have openly discussed here, the teachers voiced their concerns about keeping the e-readers safe from breakage or theft; part of our training includes conversations about ways to keep the fragile e-readers secure in the hands of elementary school students.

Many were also happy to see that the devices were loaded not only with reading materials and storybooks suitable for the early-grade lessons, but that there were textbooks and reference materials for other subject areas.

Amanase Primary P1 student shows his excitement as he learns to use the keyboard function on his e-reader.

 

At the student training, students were excited about the idea of having 1,400 books all in one place. They were intrigued by the idea of reading on an electronic device, and their faces were all smiles as they pressed button after button exploring an endless number of books.

These children are six to 11 years younger than our other students in Ghana, but they stunned us — they could open and read books soon after we introduced the devices to them. This assures us that these children will be comfortable using the devices with a lot more speed than we reckoned.

Suhum Primary students immersed in the reading of their first e-book.

 

Soon, we’ll share more details about the monitoring and evaluation processes we’re putting in place to see how kids’ reading levels improve as result of our program. We’re thrilled by the work that is happening on the ground and by the fact that “Books for all” is truly expanding.