Between October 2013 and December 2014, international and local experts had a two-fold mission: identify the latest research findings in the area of early reading internationally, and analyse both the national reading curriculum and the classroom teaching practices within each country. The results of this unprecedented study are released in this report:
The first part
of the report consists of a comparative study of the latest theoretical and practical insights in the area of early reading education internationally, with a focus on contexts of second-language reading instruction, in which language and reading acquisition are supposed to take place simultaneously.
The second part
of the report entails a thorough analysis of existing curriculum documents and teaching practices in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Senegal. Experts assessed official guidelines, syllabi, and textbooks for grades 1 to 3 (200 in total), paying specific attention to the prescriptiveness and detail characterizing curricular and pedagogical material as regards early reading instruction. They evaluated the alignment between official frameworks and learning materials, teacher training, and assessment methods. They also conducted classroom observations (36), along with focus group / individual interviews with teachers and school principals (110). This double focus (document analysis / observations and interviews) allowed the report to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each national reading curriculum in both their practical and theoretical aspects. As a whole, the report identifies the elements required for successful early literacy acquisition, provides state-of-the-art knowledge on effective reading curricula and related curriculum issues, and formulates both general and tailored evidence-based recommendations.
This report was produced as part of the project “Improving learning outcomes in early grade reading: integration of curriculum, teaching, learning materials and assessment (November 2013-January 2017)” launched by the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) and sponsored by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
The project has drawn attention to the importance of quality education as a crucial condition for children to learn to read well in early years. It has also highlighted the correlation between the effectiveness of education systems and curriculum alignment with teaching materials, training and assessment.