International Literacy Solutions

Team Kiswahili
Provides comprehensive early literacy skills practice in both Kiswahili and English through primary Level 3. The program motivates learners to learn to completion by having them work in teams –with their friends or with their classmates. Teams work harder, learn faster and have more fun along the way. The software provides over 1,500 learning activities in each language covering all six elements of literacy: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing ensure that every child becomes fully literate.

Elementary Bilingual Literacy
Provides comprehensive early literacy skills practice in both Spanish and English through primary grade level 3. The program motivates learners to learn to completion by having them work in teams –with their friends or with their classmates. Teams work harder, learn faster and have more fun along the way. The software provides over 1,500 learning activities in each language covering all six elements of literacy: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing ensure that every child becomes fully literate.

Family Literacy
Motivates Spanish and English speaking parents and their children to master their reading and writing skills by providing a parallel experience for children ages 5-10 learning alongside their parents or relatives. Depending on their relationship, parents can learn by helping their children, learn from their children who help them, or compete with their children to see who can master the most skills. Offering the same learner control, teamwork and formative feedback as our adult programs, along with a complete Spanish language program for young learners transitioning into English, Family Bilingual Literacy fits perfectly into the Family Literacy Solution.

Family Literacy and International Education

Learners outside the U.S. typically face the triple challenge of learning to read and write in their local language, in their national language and in English. And, while true illiteracy is rare, practical illiteracy is still endemic in many countries. For example, the stated literacy rate in Kenya is 78%7, however, as recently as 2006, less than half of the children who enrolled in first grade completed the eight years primary school cycle, women were literate at 2/3 the rate of men, and rural dwellers often had only rudimentary literacy8. In 2000, Odalo estimated that the functional literacy rate in Kenya at only 65%, and more recent data indicate that this figure may have been high. In Nigeria, Adelakun estimates the literacy rate to be below 65%9. In South Africa, children from the lower 75% of the country’s economic strata score nearly a full standard deviation below the wealthiest 25%, and even the wealthy children score below those from other middle income countries like Chile10.

In spite of these results, the methods of developing literacy in all languages are well known11:

    1. Build reading and writing skills in the learner’s first language first, and then transfer those skills to other languages of instruction,

    2. Provide students with scaffolded instruction in phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and written expression, and

    3. Provide a reason for reading and writing – for pleasure, to be informed, to accomplish a task, and provide practice in reading and writing across a wide range of subjects of interest.

When the local school system is not structured along these lines, outcomes are weak. Teacher training in the use of supplemental lessons to fully teach the six elements of literacy are highly effective (e.g., www.edvigor.org). When such training is not available, literacy skills development software can provide a substitute for students motivated enough to maintain use over the long periods of time necessary to become literate.

7https://ourworldindata.org/literacy
8Grace W. Bunyi - Real options for literacy policy and practice in Kenya, 2006.
9Ojo Johnson Adelakun - Human Capital Development and Economic Growth in Nigeria, 2011.
10Nicholas Spaull - South Africa’s Education Crisis: The quality of education in South Africa 1994-2011, 2013.
11Morrow & Gambrell - Best Practices in Literacy Instruction, 2011.

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