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BRIEF January 19, 2021

Read@Home

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Opportunities to read and learn at home are critical to improving children’s learning outcomes, but too many young children are growing up without books and opportunities to read at home.  Expanding opportunities to Read@Home is essential during this crisis, but is a smart investment at any time. 

The Read@Home program will deliver reading, learning and play materials to hard-to-reach homes, as quickly and efficiently as possible, and encourage parents and others to support children’s learning at home. The initiative targets families (with children age from 3-12) who are unlikely to be reached with the remote learning approaches being rolled out by ministries of education and encourages use of mother-tongue as much as possible. 

The World Bank’s Read@Home team is putting together global public goods to help countries select storybooks, engage parents to read with children at home, and use innovative approaches to deliver and procure books. Packages and approaches will be aligned to government distance learning programs and curriculum to ensure continuity. Read@Home is supporting countries with: 

  1. Just-in-time technical assistance to complement country-efforts and operations to source and select quality reading and learning materials for children and accompanying materials for parents/caregivers to support children’s learning;
  2. Just-in-time and longer-term technical assistance to complement country-efforts and operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs to procure and distribute learning materials; and, 
  3. Funding to close gaps at country level and incentivize resource allocations (on a matching basis).  

The team is producing a number of global public goods, including: 

  • A global manual and guidance to help countries identify and prepare packages of high-quality reading, learning and play materials for use in homes, along with support for parents to engage in children’s learning at home
  • Global guidance to improve efficiency and bring down costs across the book supply chain and identify opportunities to innovate.
  • Tools to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Read@Home Package, and gather feedback from families to improve efforts in the future. 

The Read@Home global manual is nearly complete and will be disseminated in early 2021. On the implementation side, 13 countries have been selected to participate in the first-wave of Read@Home: Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Mozambique, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, El Salvador, Honduras, N Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Republic of Marshall Islands, the Philippines and Djibouti (six countries are eligible for GPE funding under the Joint Initiative). The pace of work in the first wave countries will be dictated by country-level processes and some are likely to move more quickly than others. 

The Read@Home team is working with a number of partners at both country and global level, including the Global Book Alliance, USAID, UNICEF and various NGOs. The program is benefitting from funding from the Global Partnership for Education, The REACH Trust Fund and the Early Learning Partnership.