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Reading prototype in local language yields strong results in Ghana

September 07, 2017

Early grade reading assessments conducted in Ghana in 2013 and 2015 found that only 2 percent of students in second grade could read with fluency and comprehension, an essential skill for success in school and beyond. The Ghana Partnership for Education: Learning activity, led by FHI 360 and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is working with the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service to address this problem. Learning has developed a systematic, phonics-based reading program that includes evidence-based tools and strategies to improve reading performance. The program will be provided to 7,404 schools in 100 districts in Ghana, reaching approximately 1.1 million primary students and 30,000 teachers, head teachers and curriculum leads. Instruction will be delivered in 11 Ghanaian languages.

children in spelling beeTo prepare for implementation at scale, Learning conducted a prototype of the materials development, teacher training and instructional delivery processes in the Dagbani language in 20 schools in the Yendi municipality. The prototype ran from January to July 2017 and yielded promising results: 95 percent of students could read letters by the end. Additionally, students could read 27 more letters and 10-12 more words per minute. The prototype culminated in a spelling bee, where 77 finalists ages 6 to 10 sounded out and spelled Dagbani words with four to eight syllables, many of which students had never heard before. After 12 rounds of students showcasing their impressive phonics skills, a first grader from a village school was named the winner.

Over the next three months, the Learning team will develop materials and train teachers to scale up the reading program to 99 more districts and 10 more languages. The team will support teacher effectiveness through a combination of professional development supports, including e-learning, face-to-face trainings, teacher learning circles and coaching sessions.

Read more about Learning’s program design, teacher professional development models and approaches used to scale up the program.

Photo credit: USAID Ghana Partnership for Education: Learning/FHI 360