Opening a World of Opportunities Through Reading

Sep 08, 2016

One in four children in the developing world are unable to read and to benefit from the opportunities for a brighter future that come through education. In recognition of this year’s International Literacy Day, a new video from Mathematica Policy Research highlights the importance of evaluating efforts aimed at improving education worldwide.

Through our Center for International Policy Research and Evaluation, Mathematica researchers are evaluating several projects designed to improve access to quality schooling in the developing world. We are learning about the most effective ways to do so and collaborating with international partners around the globe to support this vital effort.



The largest of these is the LAC Reads Evaluation project, an initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to invest in rigorous evaluations of interventions aimed at improving early literacy and access to education in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Mathematica is currently leading multiyear studies in Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. These evaluations are designed to shed light on important gaps in the evidence base regarding what works to improve early-grade reading, such as using formative and end-of-grade assessments to inform instructional practice, strengthening teacher pedagogical training and support systems to teach reading effectively, and engaging parents and community stakeholders in changing the culture of reading. 

In Africa, Mathematica is conducting multiyear evaluations of two significant literacy efforts: the Burkinabé Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed (BRIGHT) program, a partnership of the government of Burkina Faso and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to improve girls’ educational success; and the Niger Education and Community Strengthening program, an effort by the government of Niger, MCC, and USAID to increase access to education in targeted villages and improve early-grade reading through instruction in the children’s mother tongue.

Mathematica also is part of a consortium working on the Fursa kwa Watoto (Opportunities for Children) project in Tanzania, a four-year effort to design interventions to improve early-grade reading, writing, numeracy, and social emotional outcomes for children. Mathematica is leading activities that guide the design, adoption, and scale-up of the program.

Read more about Mathematica’s international work as well as our U.S. education research.


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