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Distribution of books in Ethiopia done in partnership with “Ethiopia Reads”

Photo credits: Yared Shumete

Opportunities to read and learn at home are critical to improving children’s learning, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and related learning loss. Expanding access to books for children to Read@Home along with their parents and caregivers is essential during this crisis and a smart investment at any time. 

The Read@Home program is delivering reading, learning, and play materials in languages children understand to hard-to-reach homes, using enhanced procurement to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Read@Home is also developing materials and activities to support parents and caregivers to read with their children. The initiative targets families with children ages 3-12 who are unlikely to have access to books or other remote learning approaches.

Read@Home supports countries and teams with just-in-time technical assistance to complement country efforts to: (i) source, select, and procure quality reading and learning materials for children in appropriate languages and accompanying materials for parents and caregivers; and (ii) improve efficiency and reduce costs in book procurement and distribution. 

The team has produced a range of global public goods, including: 

  1. A Global Manual to help countries identify high quality reading materials for use in homes, along with supporting materials for parents and caregivers, including monitoring and evaluation guidance and tools.
  2. Guidance Note: Using the World Bank Bidding Document for Books to support government and World Bank teams in preparing accurate and complete bidding documents for books, evaluating proposals, and awarding contracts.
  3. Guidance Note: Technical Specifications for the Design of Reading Books to ensure that correct fonts, spacing, and other design elements are optimized for young readers when developing new reading books.
  4. Guidance Note: Technical Specifications for the Production of Textbooks and Reading Books to provide complete and correct technical specifications for the procurement of 14 kinds of books frequently procured for education and used in classrooms, homes, and libraries.
  5. Copyright Guide to provide explanations of copyright for educational materials to assist governments and partners in procuring and using copyrighted textbooks and storybooks correctly and efficiently.
  6. Guide to Open Licensing in World Bank Projects to provide an explanation of open licensing and how to use it in World Bank and other development projects to increase access to high quality teaching and learning materials, including textbooks and storybooks (forthcoming).
  7. Guidance Note: Developing High Quality Books for Reading Programs and Children’s Reading at Home to provide support for title development work in underserved languages, including information about the range of genres needed to develop reading skills and motivation and guidance for authors, illustrators, and editors in the production of these diverse types of children’s books.
  8. Read@Home Guide to Incoterms and Insurance to provide practical explanations of the range of Incoterms (terms that govern the responsibilities of buyers and sellers using international shipping) for book procurement and the related insurance requirements.
  9. Ten Success Factors in the Procurement of Teaching and Learning Materials: The Case of Mozambique to present replicable measures used in Mozambique to increase the efficiency of book procurement and reduce the costs of textbooks and teacher’s guides. The document sets out ten success factors which can be used by other countries.
  10. Book Supply Chain Analysis in the Republic of the Marshall Islands to analyze the steps in the book supply chain in the RMI and identifies strategy to ensure timely access to quality and affordable reading materials.

Twelve countries have participated in the first-wave of Read@Home:Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of Marshall Islands, Senegal, Sudan, North Macedonia, El Salvador, and Honduras.

The Read@Home team is working with partners at country and global levels, including the Global Book Alliance, USAID, UNICEF and various NGOs. The program is supported by funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), The REACH Trust Fund, the Early Learning Partnership, and country project grants.