USAID Mission Director to Liberia, Dr. Anthony S. Chan, has pledged his institution’s preparedness to support the Ministry of Education efforts to improve Early Grade Reading through the ‘Read Liberia Activity’.
According to Dr. Chan, Read Liberia Activity is an important program which is geared towards seeking and making smart interventions to help primary students at grade 1 and 2 levels to read and understand grade level text after two years of schooling.
Speaking at the Monrovia City Hall Wednesday during an official launch of the Read Liberia Activity, Dr. Chan stressed the need for the program to be introduced in all public and private schools to build the reading skills of Liberian pupils.
According to him, recent assessment of Liberia shows that most Liberian students at the early grade levels were only reading on the average of 14.6 words per minute as opposed to the international benchmark of 45 to 60 words per minute.
Chan added that data further shows that children who read below the standard grade in early grades tend to fall behind in other subjects, including mathematics and science, as well as reasoning and comprehension.
The USAID boss further noted that tackling reading and learning deficiencies early is essential if young students were to succeed in their education and life.
He said as an educational partner to the Government of Liberia, USAID is excited over the progress of the program so far since its establishment and is willing to provide additional support to the country’s education sector.
The USAID official disclosed that the “Read Liberia Activity” Program has been rolled out in 640 public primary schools in six different counties, including Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Bong, Lofa, Margibi and Nimba, targeting over 57,000 grades one and two students.
He explained that the Program has also trained over 1,280 elementary school teachers from grades one and two as well as 60 kindergarten teachers in various skills to enable them deliver early grade reading instructions to the students to develop their reading skills.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chan has lauded authorities of the Ministry of Education for the success achieved thus far and for making early grade reading to become a priority area of the ministry’s education sector plan.