All Children Reading

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development
All Children Reading (ACR): A Grand Challenge for Development presents an innovative new approach towards uncovering and sourcing better, faster, cheaper and more sustainable solutions to the challenge of global illiteracy. Launched in 2011 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and World Vision, the ACR Grand Challenge is an annual competition which seeks to leverage the transformative power of Science and Technology to develop scalable, low-cost solutions that improve literacy rates for all children in the developing world.

All Children Reading brings clarity and attention to the challenges that illiteracy poses; it articulates the fundamental barriers to long-term learning success in low-income communities and aims to uncover and launch the design and implementation of innovative solutions to address these issues.

What is a Grand Challenge for Development?
A Grand Challenge is about doing development differently. It is about focusing global attention on a specific problem – a problem that has not been solved with traditional approaches. With a Grand Challenge, we marshal new ideas, engage new actors and advance innovative solutions from around the world. The initiative focuses on solutions that are robust, cost-effective, scalable and are grounded in Science and Technology.

Each Grand Challenge for Development is defined by a problem statement, rather than specified solutions.

The Challenge- Create Groundbreaking Solutions to Improve Reading Outcomes

‘A Grand Challenge for Development’ seeks ground-breaking solutions that offer scalable and cost-effective innovations to address critical and unmet needs in developing world contexts around two key themes: Teaching and Learning Materials and Education Data.

Teaching and Learning Materials:
Teachers and students in developing countries typically have limited access to high-quality and appropriate teaching and learning materials.

Recent programs supporting the development of materials for schools, communities and homes are beginning to report positive impacts on student learning. However, the provision of textbooks in developing countries continues to be inadequate and supplemental reading materials are even harder to find.

A study in Ethiopia found that having a textbook boosted children’s oral reading fluency by 9.6 words per minute, and having other books at home boosted their fluency by 8.3 words per minute.

Education Data:
While there have been significant gains in improving access to primary education in the developing world, there is a growing need for reliable Education data to measure whether adequate learning is occurring in the classroom and to ensure that children are leaving school with the right skills and capabilities.

The importance of reliable data in ensuring adequate student learning has become increasingly visible over the past few years. The development of Annual Status of Education Reports and National and Community reading assessments have provided widespread awareness of student learning levels and stimulated efforts to improve reading. Education systems and supporters, including parents, communities and funders, must have critical and timely education data to make the right decisions to improve learning.

Initiative Africa believes that one day ALL CHILDREN will become readers and Education data will be a key part in making that vision a reality.

An Action Research Approach to Improving Student Reading Using Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) Results: Using Student Test Data to Improve Classroom Instruction

All Children Reading (ACR) is a reading project designed and implemented by Initiative Africa with the financial backing of World Vision, USAID and AUSAID. The ACR project was first proposed on the basis of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA).

In May and June of 2010, an Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) was performed in eight regions across Ethiopia. The EGRA study was assessed based on the Minimum Learning Competencies in mother tongue and is in line with the Ethiopian curriculum. The findings show that students are not learning at the level expected at either Grade 2 or Grade 3.

The overall results indicated extremely low oral reading fluency and comprehension levels. Evidence on the attainment of the objectives of the National Assessment have implications for assessing important aspects on how the Education system functions with respect to access, quality, efficiency, and equity. The study also makes the recommendation that action needs to be taken to improve the situation.

Seeing that the suggested problems prevail in most schools of Amhara, Oromia and Addis Ababa Regions, Initiative Africa, as an organization striving for Quality Education for All, designed an innovative sample reading project entitled “An Action Research Approach to Improve Reading Skills of Students Using EGRA Results” with a focus on the teachers in the classroom.

An Action Research Approach to Improving Student Reading Using Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) Results: Using Student Test Data to Improve Classroom Instruction (USTD’s) project on classroom teaching will help teachers examine their own work: how it is structured, how they carry it out on a daily basis, why something works or does not work for learners, and how, in large and small ways, the work can be done more efficiently.

Top-down, National and School Board initiatives, including training courses, have shown to have minimal impact on teachers’ professional practices. It is important, therefore, to encourage alternatives to top-down change initiatives and training-based professional development activities. While there has been considerable debate about the value of international testing, USTD will utilize existing data as an entry-point for teachers to use in improving student learning. This project will provide the training and support that teachers require to analyze and apply information gleaned from EGRA test results.

The objective of this project is to improve Early Grade Teachers’ performance in assessing their students reading skills and finding a means to increase their students’ reading performance.

The Specific Objectives of the project are to:
Evaluate the potential of National testing results to improve reading performance

Develop the capacity of teachers in using action research to improve their practice

Evaluate the effect of using action research on student reading performance

Improve access to reading and learning materials for teachers and students

Evaluate the impact of the School Board’s sustained support for teachers in the process of change.


The ACR project is scheduled to start in September 2012 and end in June 2014. It will be implemented in thirty schools within the following selected regions and have a direct impact on Students, Teachers, and School Board members.

1. Angolela Woreda – Amhara Region
2. Boset Woreda – Oromia Region
3. Kolfe-keranio & Angolela Sub cities – Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa Schools
Meserete Ediget
Biruh Tesfa
Yeabeboch fire
Dil Betigil
Tsehay Chora
Addis Zemen

Angolela Schools
Dire Meda
Feres Mefetegna
Genet Mariam
Gudena Mamas

Boset Schools
Buta Dedaso
No. 1 Boset
No. 2 Boset
Dengore Naye
Dengore Tiyo
Beqeqitu Mume
Buttaa Wagaree



In order to effect meaningful change and improvement in students’ achievement the project focuses on the teacher’s skill of conducting Action Research in classrooms. Although many types of research may be undertaken, action research specifically refers to a teacher’s disciplined inquiry with the intent of informing and changing future practices. Action Research is currently popular and has an empowering effect because teachers and principals determine the focus of the research and are the primary beneficiaries of the findings.

Collaborators of the Project
Regional, Zonal and Woreda Finance and Education Bureaus

St. Mary University College

Thinking Schools International

Thinking Schools Ethiopia