African school children in the school near Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, East Africa. Photo Credit: hadynyah/Getty Images

Society Kenya10. June 2024

Impactful Program Improves Reading Skills for Millions of Children

Following a decade-long collaboration, Kenya has drastically improved primary literacy for five million children in grades 1 and 2, a goal not only achieved but surpassed ahead of schedule.

Through the partnership of Kenya’s Ministry of Education and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Tusome program – one of the most impactful large-scale early literacy programs supported by USAID – helped first and second graders to make significant gains in reading, with more than 35% of students improving their reading skills.

The share of Grade 2 students reading fluently in English went from 12% to 27%, zero readers from 53% to 23% in Grade 1, and 38% to 12% in Grade 2. As for students reading Kiswahili fluently, it increased from 4% to 15% in Grade 1 and from 4% to 12% in Grade 2, while the share of zero readers went from 70% to 45% in Grade 1 and from 43% to 19% in Grade 2. To achieve such success, there were ongoing teacher professional development and coaching visits, textbooks provided to children, structured teachers’ guides, regular monitoring of student learning by coaches, and system strengthening and alignment toward learning.

RTI International

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