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Open Licensing of Primary Grade Reading Materials: Considerations and Recommendations

The objective of this paper is to provide information on copyright and open licensing to the diverse stakeholders involved in reading improvement programs, particularly those supported by USAID. This resource answers common questions and provides specific recommendations for host-country governments, donors, implementing partners, publishers, and others to encourage collaboration in the use of Creative Commons licenses.

Over the last several decades, the world has made steady progress towards improving children’s access to education. However, educational quality continues to lag in many contexts, leading to what UNESCO and others have termed a “global learning crisis.” It is estimated that 387 million children around the world are currently not learning to read. Many of them have little or no access to textbooks and reading materials. The dearth of reading materials in homes and classrooms, especially in languages that are familiar to children, makes it very difficult to address the critical deficit of basic reading skills. Restrictive copyrights can limit how likely reading resources are to be used, shared or repurposed, which significantly diminishes the potential impact of the materials.

At the same time, the ever-increasing collection of Open Educational Resources (OER) has created fertile ground for improving learning worldwide, especially where funding for learning materials is scarce. In this digital era, openly licensed educational materials can now contribute to making education more accessible across the globe. New and increasingly numerous modalities for using open licenses enable increased production and sharing of copyrighted educational materials, based on the fundamental belief in the freedom to share knowledge and promote equity in learning.


Cozzolino, Sofia
Green, Cable
The Global Reading Network
Date Published: 
November 13, 2019
Publication Type: 
Working Papers
Teachers and Teaching
Language of Instruction
Text and Materials
Parent & Community Involvement/Support
Information and Communication Technology
Emergent Literacy
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