April 18 – 23, 2016
Last week, five members from World Education Cambodia’s Early Grade Reading (EGR) team plus one member from local NGO partner KAPE, traveled to Indonesia to learn about World Education’s early literacy programming in Indonesia- specifically the development and implementation of leveled readers, ICT resources and Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) tools for the USAID Prioritizing Reform, Innovation and Opportunities for Reaching Indonesia’s Teachers, Administrators and Students (PRIORITAS) project.
World Education Indonesia facilitated the regional exchange to deepen dialogue and enhance learning about early grade reading programming amongst staff, partners and civil society.
In just five days, the team traveled to four cities across Java to see the PRIORITAS project in action. Each day featured a field visit, meetings with project partners, learning sessions, evening reflections and other team-building activities.
PRIORITAS, implemented in partnership with RTI, will distribute more than eight million leveled reading books to 13,000 primary schools and madrasahs. One of the trip’s main highlights was seeing first-hand how the books and other literacy learning resources will be successfully utilized by schools to cultivate a culture of reading and improve students’ reading abilities.
At Garung School in Central Java, the group was welcomed by a school-wide, mass silent reading. Each day for 15 minutes before classes begin, students and teachers gather in the school courtyard to read. Students are encouraged to share what they have read. The World Education Cambodia team was impressed by the leveled-reading books and how effectively the literacy materials are being scaled.
“The books are high-quality, well-illustrated, colorful and reader friendly […] the project has made great use of the reading books as supplementary learning materials. The mass reading activity in the school yard is an innovative approach to building students’ reading fluencies and creating a culture of learning. It was a valuable highlight for our team,” explained Sonthara Kong, the Project Manager for one of World Education’s early grade reading projects, Total Reading Approach for Children Plus (TRAC+).
Ms. Kong was also impressed by the strong level of involvement and participation from the school’s extended community. “School Support Committees, comprised of volunteer parents and village leaders, played an effective role in the project […] members took turn to support literacy activities and be visible at the school every day. There was excellent collaboration between school management, teachers and community members, which provided renewed support to children’s learning and modeled positive workplace and sociocultural relationships.”
Improving Early Literacy
The exchange highlights World Education’s commitment to improving early grade reading instruction, skills and outcomes by developing regional expertise, innovating system-wide solutions and implementing cost-effective programs.