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USAID supported reading programme expands to 100 districts

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Photo credit- Kwabena Akuamoah Boateng,US Embassy

The Ministry of Education with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has initiated a reading programme at Yendi in the Northern region to enable children learn and improve in reading.

The project was initiated in January this year after an assessment in 2013 and 2015 indicated that 50 per cent of children in primary grade two struggled to read a single word, according to a press release from USAID.

USAID and the Ministry are determined to bring positive change by strengthening student performance and have more children read with fluency and comprehension, the release said.

The Ministry then introduced the “phonemic” approach in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern Region in January 2017.

It noted that, experts within the Ministry’s Education Service identified the “phonemic” approach to reading instruction as an international best practice that could help Ghanaian children learn the reading fundamentals.

The intervention focuses on teaching the building blocks of reading: letter recognition, sounding letters, decoding and forming words, building vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

By March, barely two months after the programme was initiated, Ministry officials, reading experts, and project managers from the USAID, visited Yendi to monitor progress.

The team randomly selected 12 out of 40 students in a class and found that every child could read. Overall reading progress for the class had jumped from three per cent of children reading words to 64 per cent within two and a half months.

 

USAID and the Ministry of Education have distributed over four million books in English and local Ghanaian languages to public primary schools in all 216 districts to improve the reading skills of nearly 2.8 million primary school students.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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