Crecelee What a global pandemic taught us about supporting children’s learning at home.

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In 2020, we were set to launch a reading program in schools and homes in Peru.

The need was obvious. Peru is ranked a worrying 64 out of 77 countries when it comes to measuring reading levels among students.

Source: https://factsmaps.com/pisa-2018-worldwide-ranking-average-score-of-mathematics-science-reading/

Then Covid-19 hit. And we had to dramatically rethink the program.

“The pandemic caught us by surprise. It left us and the whole community at a loss." – Pedro, teacher

The good news: 97.7% of Peruvian homes possess at least one mobile phone.

Our new aim: to keep children reading while schools were closed.

The program kept children reading in two ways:

1. We joined forces with Peru’s Ministry of Education

On March 20th, the government announced its digital education strategy, a program for all students in preschool, primary, and secondary school titled Aprendo en Casa (I Learn at Home). Worldreader worked with the Ministry of Education to integrate our BookSmart app within their learning platform.

2. We worked with local partners to bring our library to five public schools

World Vision reached a total of 600 second- and third-grade (elementary) students, five principals and 27 teachers with a remote learning intervention.

We delivered 255 books in English and Spanish via our BookSmart app.

The books included reading activities that helped children dive deeper into the stories.

We reached thousands of families, including those in rural villages like the one pictured here, a small town 80 miles outside of Lima, Peru called Chancay.

Children read more. Children read better.

Each student averaged 33 minutes per week of reading time. And, 1,814 total books were read by the participants.

“Before, he was too shy to read out aloud . . . But I have seen the change: He can express himself better and his words flow,” said Angelo's mother, Lesly.

“I have learned important things. I discovered places, people, and cultures,” said Josep, a student.

“He pays more attention and is learning new words. He’s even using the dictionary and practicing with crosswords!” – Edith, Patrick’s grandma

We learned a lot along the way, here are some key takeaways:

  • Partnerships magnify impact because each partner brings their unique knowledge and experience to the program.
  • Alignment with the education system is crucial because it increases interest in the program and improves the relevance of the books.
  • It’s important to use technologies that are already available to the families. This guarantees that you minimize barriers to remote learning.
  • As mobile phone technology and connectivity improve over time, the impact will be greater. Although mobile phone penetration is high in Peru, connectivity is still rather low, and a lack of memory on phones can limit a family's ability to access remote learning tools.

Meet some of the families who kept reading with Crecelee: