Worldreader has launched an initiative to increase reading at home and out of school based on the understanding that children will never read enough during school hours to be successful readers.

Through the Raising Readers Initiative, Worldreader is targeting children aged between 3-8 years from under served communities in rural and urban areas whom it seeks to empower so that they may develop a culture of reading daily.

Worldreader’s Regional Director East Africa Joan Mwachi announced this initiative at the St. Elizabeth Primary School Mukuru in Nairobi today during an occasion to commemorate the International Literacy Day.

The Raising Readers Initiative will promote reading for understanding and critical thinking among children and encourage parents to build new habits of reading with their children and to support child outcomes. The initiative will also empower teachers to promote reading to the community and at home using technology.

Joan Mwachi regretted the inequitable distribution of education at the moment which disadvantaged children from financially challenged backgrounds. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already in the midst of a global learning crisis. But as of 2021, 387 million children worldwide lack reading proficiency. Education is not equitably distributed. Those children in the lowest socio-economic tiers have much less access to education and lower learning outcomes, setting them up for a lifetime of learning poverty and economic needs.”, she said.

During the event participants, who included representatives from the Kenya National Library Services, pupils, teachers and the local community were introduced to BookSmart. It is a free app from Worldreader through which children can access a library of culturally relevant digital books in 5 languages. They can also gain access to reading and learning materials in school or at home in order to help maintain their learning outcomes and become lifelong readers and informed decision makers

The International Literacy Day is commemorated annually on 8th September to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. The theme for the 2022 International Literacy Day is Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces: Exploring Opportunities and Possibilities.

Worldreader works with partners globally to support vulnerable and underserved communities with digital reading solutions that help improve learning outcomes. Over the past 10 years, Worldreader has reached more than 21 million people in communities where paper books, including storybooks and textbooks, are scarce. Worldreader supports programs in five regions (East and West Africa; Latin America; the Middle East-North Africa; and South Asia) while readers across 79 countries benefit from their digital library. Since 2010, Worldreader has distributed over 40 million digital books to readers around the world.