Room to Read set out to change the lives of children around the world by focusing on literacy and gender equality. Fifteen years later, the non-profit has educated almost 10 million children.
Their other accomplishments include publishing more than 1,000 books in local languages, building more than 1,900 schools, establishing more than 17,000 libraries and providing more than 31,000 girls with education and life skills.
Room to Read facilitates education programs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia. Through monitoring and evaluating their programs, Room to Read has revealed 10 keys to their success:
- Children read faster and with greater comprehension when they benefit from systematic reading instruction that focuses on phonics.
- Children are more likely to read when their teachers have been trained in how to conduct reading activities, such as reading aloud and shared reading.
- Children prefer illustrated fiction books, such as folklore and fantasy.
- Libraries are well-run and effective when they are monitored and evaluated consistently.
- Access to libraries makes students want to read more at school and at home.
- Transparency leads to greater community involvement and participation.
- Advocacy and partnerships with local governments are crucial to improving instructional methods and professional development for educators.
- Parent and guardian engagement in their daughters’ education is essential.
- Life skills education is directly associated with lower dropout rates and higher advancement rates among girls.
- Identifying risk factors and implementing early warning systems can prevent girls from dropping out of school and provide them with needed support.
“Achieving our milestone of 10 million children impacted through Room to Read’s programs is a time to celebrate and further our mission,” said Erin Ganju, Room to Read’s CEO and co-founder. “By sharing our findings on what works in global education, we hope to deliver a quality education to every child in every corner of the globe.”
– Marie Helene Ngom