Mr Leslie Tettey, the Regional Director, West Africa for Worldreader, says 64 per cent of 10-year-olds cannot read and understand a simple story.
He said, “because a life without reading was a life of unmet potential, the global learning crisis is putting our future at risk.”
Mr Tettey was speaking at a media briefing to explain their operations and the state of reading in Ghana in Accra.
He said grade three students with foundational reading skills were at 30 per cent with Sub-
Saharan Africa far behind.
He said most poor families did not have books at home and lack of access limits changing behaviours.
The Regional Director said the ability to decode, process and understand text was key to human and social development.
He said the benefits of reading far reach beyond reading comprehension.
The Regional Director said their team of experts had designed the A-B-C-D-E model to achieve long-term impact in three key areas of a child’s life: Better education outcomes, Higher earning potential and stronger emotional intelligence.
He said they served readers through BookSmart, a mobile application, accessible on all devices from inexpensive feature phones to smart TVs, while bringing readers a library of 3000+ high quality digital books.
“The library reaches children globally across several major and local languages,” he added.
He said Worldreader trained and supported caregivers and reading champions about reading to and with children.
“We collect real-time reading data and share it with our various audiences to continuously help them reach their reading goals and we engage caregivers and communities to spur behavior change and a new culture of reading in the home and beyond,” he added.
He said their partners shared the vision of building a better world, powered by readers and these partners played a critical role in bringing reading to more children every day.
He said together they were on a mission to get children reading so they could reach their potential, indicating that they work with partners locally to provide reading opportunities, support, and evidence-based programming to motivate children and their caregivers to complete 25 unique books a year with understanding.
He said it was essential to invest from early childhood and at home and create a family reading habit.
Madam Kezia Agbenyega, Content acquisition and Programme Manager at Worldreader, said since 2010, Worldreader had supported more than 21million readers in over 100 countries to read 75million digital books.
She said they had achieved impact with their BookSmart digital reading solution, which improved comprehension, digital literacy, and emotional literacy skills for children ages 3-12 years old.
She said BookSmart includes thousands of books in multiple languages; anytime, anywhere access on any device; reader engagement in the form of motivational messaging, challenges, and rewards to keep children reading; and data to help track progress.
“We encourage and support reading everywhere like the homes, schools and in libraries and clubs,” she added.
She said ongoing projects and partnerships had a pilot project to integrate digital reading in pre-service and in-service kindergarten teachers training, Booksmart Tab for schools after large kindle programmes deployments.
Others are Booksmart Tab pilot in 15 schools for later scale-up and literacy advocacy project.