Between 2003 and 2007, the number of children in primary school in Mozambique increased from 3.3 million to 5.3 million. This rapid expansion has put tremendous pressure on an already struggling education system, leaving schools and district managers in crippling situations.
The USAID | Aprender a Ler (Learn to Read) is a four-year project that provides training, coaching, and learning material to teachers and school directors. These efforts aim to increase the quality and quantity of reading instruction for children in grades 1-3 in Mozambique.
Aprender a Ler has achieved higher literacy rates in target schools, and children’s success in reading is celebrated annually with a Dia de Leitura—or Day or Reading—festival.
Early Saturday morning on April 23rd, young students of the Escola Primaria Completa dos Limoeiros (Limoeiros Primary School) and their families flooded into the schoolyard to begin a day of celebration for reading.
More than 400 students, 800 family and community members, and even the US Ambassador, along with two representatives from the Ministry of Education, joined the festivities. The events included theater presentations, reading demonstrations, and reading competitions that showcased the skills of selected early-grade students.
The Dia de Leitura—or Day or Reading—was first launched in 2014 as a celebration to inform parents, engage whole communities, and acknowledge the teachers and school directors who were changing the lives of children in their charge—the students.
The Dia de Leitura gives schools the opportunity to highlight the success of their students as well as the approaches that their teachers take to engage students and teach them to read. The celebration also helps to promote habits like reading with family members, borrowing books from school, and taking part in radio programs created to encourage reading skill development and interest.
The USAID | Aprender a Ler project trains early grade teachers and school directors on how to strengthen the quality of teaching and enhance the implementation of reading programs and management strategies.
In just three years, USAID | Aprender a Ler has trained almost 5,000 teachers from 1,214 schools, and more than 330,000 children are reaping the benefits. As seen in the midterm assessment, in only six-months, grade three children in program schools could read three times as many words as children in control schools (who did not benefit from the program).
Given these results, USAID asked World Education to expand the project to more schools across 14 districts. World Education takes a multi-pronged approach that uses targeted, well-designed materials and depends on teachers, schools directors, reading coaches, and families. The Dia de Leitura celebration, which took place in 611 schools, provided an opportunity to acknowledge these efforts made by everyone involved—and celebrated the effective learning that is clearly taking place in Mozambique.
Learn more about the USAID | Aprender a Ler project and World Education’s work in Mozambique at worlded.org