On October 2, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) and Pearson’s Project Literacy announced an upcoming global prize competition that seeks to increase the global supply of high-quality reading materials accessible for children with print disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision. Launching October 26, 2017, the Book Boost: Access for All Challenge seeks innovations that leverage modern accessibility technologies to make it more cost-efficient for publishers to produce digital materials that can be read by all.
Producing books is a time consuming and expensive process. When books are not designed from the outset to be accessible, adapting them to incorporate accessibility features makes the production process even more expensive, and requires extensive duplication of efforts. This has resulted in a shortage of books available to children who are blind or have low vision, as well as those with different print disabilities who would benefit from accessible formats.
“There are few factors more important to a child’s future than achieving literacy early in life, and there simply are not enough accessible books available to ensure that every child will have access to the materials they need to learn to read,” said Deborah Backus, World Vision Senior Program Manager for ACR GCD. “By embracing innovations in the production process, we anticipate a significant increase in the availability of these materials.”
Established in 2011 as a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, ACR GCD is an ongoing series of grants and competitions that leverage science and technology to source, test and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries. The Book Boost: Access for All Challenge is the latest in this series of competitions.
The prize competition also advances the goals of Project Literacy, a coalition-led campaign founded and convened by Pearson, which focuses on supporting promising solutions for early childhood, family engagement and adult literacy.