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Toolkits and resources

To support the creation of high-quality storybooks, this page contains training resources and toolkits for teachers, parents, librarians, content creators (such as authors and illustrators), publishers, and translators. Monitoring and evaluation resources will also be listed.

Open Licensing of Primary Grade Reading Materials: Considerations and Recommendations

Restrictive copyrights can limit how likely reading resources are to be used, shared or repurposed, which significantly diminishes the potential impact of the materials.  Donors and international organizations are increasingly investing in open educational resources, as they are interested in ensuring that educational materials reach the greatest possible number of learners, and that broad access to those materials is not compromised at the conclusion of programs.  

In cooperation with Creative Commons (CC), the Reading within Reach team developed Open Licensing of Primary Grade Reading Materials: Considerations and Recommendations. This new GRN resource provides:

  • An overview of copyright and licensing
  • The benefits of open licenses
  • Guidance on choosing and marking work with open licenses
  • Advice on how to engage stakeholders in selecting an open license
  • A review of open license business models and ways to leverage open licenses

Watch the recent webinars on Open Licensing provided by Global Reading Network: You can access the webinars at the following links: Creative Commons Basics (an overview of Creative Commons and open licensing); Open Licensing Business Models (a look at how publishers in Africa and Asia are incorporating open licensing); and Approaches to Open Licensing for Early Grade Reading Materials (explaining different Creative Commons licenses and previewing the forthcoming resource).

What makes a Great Translation?

If you are planning to translate a storybook from one language to another, then these recommendations are for you. They offer helpful ideas on how to ensure the final story in the new language is high quality. A high-quality translation is one that was not necessarily translated word-for-word, but that retains the meaning and sensibility of the original story in the new language. At the same time, the new story may adjust to the specifics of a new language (e.g. the complexity of certain words), as well as the cultural context that comes with the new language. Essentially, translating is creating a new version of a story in another language.

High quality translations are important because they hold the power to create more quality stories for children to read. This is valuable especially in languages where written stories are scarce. In South Africa, the publishing industry focuses on Afrikaans and English, while African-language storybooks remain few. With quality translations, however, a publisher, NGO, writer or others can take a single written story and multiply it into more.

These recommendations were created through the Results in Education for All Children (REACH) Project and funded by the REACH trust fund at the World Bank and the Global Book Alliance. The goal of the REACH Project is to impact the children’s storybook industry in South Africa to ensure all children have exciting stories to read.

Learning to improve Learning: Lessons from Early Primary Interventions and Evaluations in India and Sub-Saharan Africa

In 2006, when the Hewlett Foundation started the Quality Education in Developing Countries initiative, one of the initiative’s goals was to help answer precisely this question. From 2007 to 2013, combining resources with co-funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation supported eleven school-level approaches to improving early learning, accompanied by ten rigorous evaluations. The grants spanned India and five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Mali, Senegal, and Ghana. Most organizations focused on improving instructional practice, tackling head-on the fact that teachers are insufficiently prepared to teach reading and math in the early primary grades.

The studies funded by the Foundation constitute a significant contribution to existing evaluation evidence on how to improve student learning. Recent meta-analyses catalogue fewer than 80 randomized studies in the developing world that have examined learning as an outcome variable (McEwan 2013, Krishnaratne et al. 2013). Given the paucity of existing studies, it is still early days for building evidence on what works to improve learning.

The remainder of this paper provides a synthesis of what we know about how to improve learning outcomes. Three areas seem to be critical: (1) improved instruction; (2) strong teacher training and in-school mentoring; and (3) community engagement in learning. The paper concludes with recommendations for carrying this work forward, including ways the results could help shape the future research agenda.

Mango Tree's Literacy Model

This is a PowerPoint presentation on Mango Tree’s methodologies for teaching literacy to young children in Northern Uganda.

Trainer's Guide for the Multi-Strategy Economy Model

Primer Construction Manual and Teacher Trainer's Guide

The Multi-Strategy Economy Model (M-SEM) is based on the same philosophy as the Multi-Strategy Method with 2 separate tracks each focusing on different reading and writing strategies (whole language and word building; top-down and bottom-up). However, it integrates the tracks more explicitly. Also it requires fewer materials -- only a set of primers and chalk boards. The M-SEM was designed especially for national propagation, for language areas with lower education, and for those with less economical means. The primers are easy to construct by mother-tongue writers who have experience in writing their language. Teacher training only takes about 1 week because teaching patterns are simple and consistent. Teaching patterns also give flexibility for inconsistent schedules or teaching different age groups. Extra reading materials can be easily incorporated into the method as they become available.

Choosing Good Books for Children of All Ages

This guide offers tips and strategies to help parents and children learn how to choose good books together.

Translation Tools and Tips

This page provides information on translating content for StoryWeaver, and contains a short guide to translating well.

First Principles for Early Grades Reading Programs in Developing Countries

First Principles is intended for national policymakers and global education project developers and implementers as a guide to incorporating reading and literacy into new projects and developing effective early grades reading programs. It describes a principled approach to observing core dimensions of effective early grades reading programs, including active teaching and learning in supportive learning environments. Strategies and tools are provided to record evidence of first principles at work in local communities, schools, and classrooms.

Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) Toolkit: Second Edition

The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) Toolkit is intended for use by Ministry or Department of Education staff, donor staff, practitioners, and professionals in the field of education development. The document, in 12 sections, seeks to summarize a large body of research in an accessible manner. The procedures described in this toolkit are to be used in all USAID-funded administrations of EGRA and, it is hoped, in all other EGRA administrations as well. In the interest of consolidating diverse experiences and developing a reasonably standardized approach to assessing children’s early reading acquisition, this “toolkit,” or user manual, serves as a guide for countries beginning to work with EGRA in such areas as local adaptation of the instrument, fieldwork, and analysis of results.