Accelerating Early Grade Reading in High Priority EFA Countries
A Desk Review
The Dakar Goals for Education for All call for the rapid expansion of quality education for all. However, the intake of massive numbers of previously out-of-school children into a relatively fixed number of schools, staffed with a fixed number of professional teachers has overwhelmed the existing primary education systems in some high priority EFA countries. Professional teachers cannot be trained overnight; three or four classrooms cannot be added to every school next month. As a result, although EFA is getting more children into schools, in some countries less than 40% of the students are achieving minimum competencies in reading and writing by G4. Many children are dropping out after three, four, or even five years of primary school without learning to read.
The purpose of the paper is to familiarize professionals in USAID and U.S.-based development organizations who are already active in education with 1) recent advances in how children learn, 2) early reading activities that build on these advances, and 3) possible next steps towards developing new or amending existing education programs to support EFA.