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GRN Interest Group Spotlights Reading Comprehension

With more than 75 members, the Reading Comprehension Interest Group is one of GRN’s most popular and most active interest groups. The group explores best practices, the latest research and innovative ideas for developing reading programs that help improve children’s reading comprehension. In particular, the group seeks to identify and publicize strategies that will work in low-income country contexts to move the needle on this critical issue of reading with comprehension.

Formed in September 2018 with an organizational meeting, the group holds monthly webinars/virtual meetings. Topics to date include reading aloud and thinking aloud, teacher observation tools, the importance of the language factor (using a case study from Mali), a brainstorming session on challenges and possible solutions for getting children to read with comprehension, a didactic tool to teach ten reading comprehension strategies in class, giving readers a reason to read, and outcomes of a longitudinal study of an early grade reading program in Nepal.

Presentation materials from these events are available here. This page also includes other resources relating to comprehension, such as a blog on Creating Master Teachers, Save the Children’s 2018 Literacy Ripples report, recent research on brain research as it relates to reading development in rural Cote d’Ivoire, an open licensing primer for African publishers, and a guide that aims to raise awareness of the various costs that go into producing and translating storybooks and of the relationship between investment and quality.

According to the group’s founder, Heidi Schubert of Save the Children, the Reading Comprehension Interest Group aligns with USAID’s priority to ensure that “children and youth gain literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills that are foundational to future learning and success.” It works toward this goal through knowledge sharing and coordination on what works in programs aimed at helping children learn to read with comprehension.

The group actively seeks presenters for future webinars. In particular, Ms. Schubert would like to see recent research specifically targeting reading comprehension gains and/or research testing explicit teaching of reading comprehension strategies. To suggest a topic or speaker—or to join the group—send an email to