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Worldreader’s mission is to make digital books available to all in the developing world, enabling millions of people to improve their lives.
Digital technology is sharply reducing the cost and complexity of delivering reading material everywhere. Worldreader is developing the systems and the partnerships to place e-readers - and the life-changing, power-creating ideas contained in them - into the hands and minds of people in the developing world.
Worldreader is a not-for-profit organization with one goal: to make books available to all in the developing world, with the help of e-reader and e-book technology.
Worldreader employs the mobile phone GSM network to instantaneously deliver thousands of local and international e-books onto lightweight, durable, low-power e-readers for children in sub-Saharan Africa... for less cost, less paper, and less fuel, with fewer logistical barriers.
In its first 26 months, Worldreader has reached 10,000 children with 500,000 e-books in six African countries. These children now read more, read better, and they're creating a culture of reading in their communities. We train teachers and students; work with e-reader manufacturers to provide devices; and collaborate with local and international publishers to obtain digitized content that isreading-level appropriate and culturally relevant.Worldreader expects to reach 1 million children across the world by 2015.
We gauge our impact by measuring the number of books read before and after deployment, by testing students' reading ability, and continuously evaluating our own ability to scale. Longer term, we look for increased community involvement in reading, and ultimately increased literacy rates beyond UN-predicted levels.
In 2012, Worldreader shared the results of the largest external impact measurement: the USAID-funded report from ILC Africa, which studied the Worldreader iREAD program in Ghana. This study found:
- A dramatic increase in children's access to books: Students with e-readers carried an average of 107 books each. Prior to the e-reader program, the average primary school household owned 3 books.
- Increased performance on standardized tests: Reading scores of primary school students who received e-readers increased by 7.6% in a short 7-month period versus the control classrooms.
- Increased resources for teachers: The e-readers allowed teachers to conduct research, create lessons, and design reading comprehension assessments.
- Increased enthusiasm towards reading: Students downloaded over 6,000 free books during the course of the study, in addition to the local and international textbooks and storybooks provided by Worldreader. For every 2 books we provided, students downloaded 1 additional piece of content.