Rwanda has achieved remarkable progress in expanding access to schooling, but there are still significant challenges to address, including the question of how to ensure that all children learn to read.
In 2013, Save the Children initiated a programme called Advancing the Right to Read, which aims to provide a continuum of services for children aged 0-9 focused on supporting learning and early grade literacy in particular. One of four approaches utilised by the programme is Literacy Boost, evidence-based approach to strengthen the five core skills of reading (alphabetic knowledge; phonological/phonemic awareness; vocabulary; fluency; and comprehension) of children aged 6-9, both inside and outside school. It uses three components – rigorous assessment; in-service teacher training; and community action – to identify reading gaps and improve children’s reading skills.
To help support this important work, Save the Children engaged Stanford University to conduct four baseline studies for the Literacy Boost project: a Reading Assessment Baseline, a Teacher Practices Baseline, a Home Literacy Environment Baseline, and a Home Ethnography Baseline. The studies were carried out in collaboration with the Rwanda Education Board (REB), University of Rwanda and the national NGO, Umuhuza.
On September 12, 2014, Save the Children invited Government Representatives and Education Development Partners to a presentation on the findings from these studies, and to reflect on strengths, gaps and weaknesses that may need to be addressed for further achievements in early literacy to be made.