We’ve Got Proof: Primary Students Read More And Better Too

October 8, 2013 By

Robert (right), a Worldreader volunteer, conducts a reading assessment with a first-grade student.

Robert (right), a Worldreader volunteer, conducts a reading assessment with a first-grade student.

We’ve seen reading levels of kids in our program steadily improve, but now we have even more proof.

Since we started our efforts to make digital books available to millions of students in the developing world, Worldreader has been committed to rigorously measuring the impact of our programs and evaluating how e-readers in schools create lifelong reading habits.

We’re constantly asking ourselves, school administers and program directors two key questions: Are children reading more, and are they reading better as a result of our projects?

To gauge our efforts and the kids’ progress, our team recently carried out a midterm evaluation of our Ghana iREAD 2 project.* The assessment was done at eight primary schools (four with Worldreader e-reader programs and four without), and with Tangerine, a groundbreaking electronic learning assessment tool developed by RTI International.

The iREAD 2 Midterm Study Report is available here here.

The report finds a number of exciting results after less than six months of this phase of project implementation, including:

  • Significant improvements in first language oral reading fluency: Students with access to Worldreader programs learned to read, on average, 5.3 words per minute faster in Twi (most students’ mother tongue) than students in control schools.

  • A narrowing of the gender gap: Girls and boys in Worldreader’s programs improved the same amount on oral reading fluency in Twi, whereas girls in control schools improved only half as much as boys. Put another way, for girls, less than six months in Worldreader’s program is equivalent to a year in regular school.

  • Important gains in foundational English reading skills: Worldreader students improved over 50 percent more than students in the control schools on the most basic English reading skills.

A key finding from our midterm evaluation in Ghana: For girls, less than six months in Worldreader’s program is equivalent to a year in regular school.

A key finding from our midterm evaluation in Ghana: For girls, less than six months in Worldreader’s program is equivalent to a year in regular school.

 

Using these results as a guide to further our program’s effectiveness, we have modified teacher training materials, provided additional teacher resources and uploaded the e-readers with more books.

The project’s final evaluation will be conducted at the end of the 2013-2014 school year (July 2014). We’re looking forward to see what happens in the coming months!

 

* Building off the demonstrated success of our pilot iREAD 1 program in Ghana in 2010, Worldreader launched iREAD 2 with an All Children Reading grant from USAID, World Vision and AusAid during the 2012-2013 school year. Recognizing the importance of intervening as early as possible to build children’s reading skills, iREAD 2 provides 574 early primary students in four schools with fully loaded e-readers and fun, interactive extracurricular activities that bring reading to life. iREAD 2 teachers also receive training on phonics and activity-based teaching methods, among other topics.