March 9, 2015
Written by Chemonics
This post originally appeared on Chemonics’ website here.
Imagine growing up as a small girl or boy and struggling to find stories written in the language you speak at home with your family. It is easy to find books in other languages or for older children, but there is nothing appealing and approachable for a seven-year-old. Would that make it more difficult for you to learn how to read? To want to read?
For children in the Sindh Province of southeastern Pakistan, this is a reality and is part of the country’s larger issue of low literacy. Thirty percent of students in Pakistan’s public schools drop out by grade 3. In Sindh, the second-largest province, the problem is compounded: The overall literacy rate is just 59 percent, and 88 percent of girls have never attended school. For students to have meaningful early childhood developmental experiences in reading and math, it is important that they have access to an extensive range of relevant age and culturally appropriate print and other materials in classrooms, homes, and libraries.
With this in mind, in 2014 education experts from the USAID-funded Sindh Reading Program (SRP), implemented by Chemonics, conducted a supplementary teaching and learning materials (STLM) gap analysis to catalogue and assess available supplementary reading materials for children in Sindhi, Urdu, and English as part of the project’s focus on boosting early grade literacy in reading and math. They relied on an objective set of criteria to gauge different factors, including quality, appearance, grade-appropriateness, and durability of different supplementary teaching and learning materials.