Posted on September 8, 2016 by
Reading is essential for learning across all academic subject areas. As children progress through school, schools, teachers, and communities must help them to become critical and independent readers and learners. Their future depends on it. This is why USAID and its partners, like Chemonics, aim to improve literacy for 100 million children.
Research suggests that we have a good understanding of what children need to become proficient readers. USAID’s approach to reading instruction is based on the model of reading that came out of the 2000 National Reading Panel, which reviewed more than 100,000 studies on how children learn to read.
The panel identified five skills — the five foundational skills for reading — as the most strongly correlated with successful reading:
- Phonemic awareness: the ability to manipulate, break apart, and put together sounds
- Alphabetic principles (phonics): the ability to recognize the relationship between a specific letter and its corresponding sound
- Vocabulary: knowing and understanding both oral and written words
- Fluency: the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression
- Comprehension: the ability to understand what is heard or read
But improving literacy for 100 million children is about more than teaching these five skills. We also need to consider the broader education environment as we take reading interventions to scale if we are going to reach our goal of 100 million readers.
To help the development community do this, USAID developed the 5 T’s, a comprehensive framework to strengthen the broader education system to improve reading outcomes for primary school students:
- Teaching: Strengthen teachers’ preparedness to deliver reading instruction
- Time: Ensure children have sufficient time to learn and practice reading
- Test: Use assessments, both formative and summative, to provide critical data to inform instruction and policy-related decisions
- Tongue: Teach in the mother tongue in line with research suggesting that children learn best in a familiar language
- Text: Ensure children have access to quality and appropriate texts
Learning to read is not a skill that readers develop naturally. But with systematic and direct instruction, all children can learn to read.
By integrating research-based best practices, such as the 5 T's, into early grade reading instruction, children around the world can acquire the foundational skills to become successful readers and independent learners.
Laura Conrad is an associate on Chemonics’ Education and Youth Practice.
Posted on September 7, 2016 by
A growing body of evidence shows that empowering adolescent
girls to become future leaders in their communities is key to
achieving global development goals, ensuring the sustainability of
development interventions, and making a significant social impact.
It is only by supporting, educating, and empowering adolescent
girls that we can
unlock their full potential to transform the world in which we
live. The first step of achieving this goal is to eradicate
violence against adolescent girls, which...
Posted on September 6, 2016 by
The challenge of equitable
and efficient land allocation
Land-use decision making forces politicians and land managers to
grapple with choices that pit one interest group against another,
and every decision seems destined to create conflict. But what if
potential land uses could be ranked and supported by science? Are
there win-win scenarios out there, waiting to be discovered?
In the Okavango River Basin, one approach is doing just that.
The Land-Use Conflict Identification Strategy, or LUCIS, is...
Posted on August 31, 2016 by
By Debora Freitas López and Dr. Kamden Hoffmann
The importance of gender
mainstreaming and integration
The disparities between men and women have resulted in women
often bearing the burden of development needs, and as a result,
gaining fewer benefits from development interventions. Yet, we know
that improving access to health and education for girls will
contribute to better child, maternal, and family health outcomes,
such as reduced domestic violence as well as improved nutrition and
Posted on August 30, 2016 by
The World Bank estimates
that only 10 percent of Afghans hold
an account with a financial institution, far below the average of
22 percent for low-income nations. The reasons for this are
numerous: many Afghans report mistrust of banks, some lack the
proper documentation to access financial services, and those living
outside major population centers find great difficulty in even
traveling to a bank. Of particular note from the World Bank’s
is that nearly one-quarter of
Posted on August 25, 2016 by
Bassey Archibong is the director of household economic
strengthening for USAID's Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprise
in Targeted Sites (MARKETS II
) project in Nigeria. The project
aims to improve the performance, income, nutrition, and food
security of poor Nigerian rural farmers or smallholders in an
environmentally friendly manner.
Why is social inclusion important for the development of
Nigeria, 68 percent of the population lives in poverty, living on
less than $1.25...
Posted on August 23, 2016 by
Kelly Brooks is chief of party for the USAID Human Rights Activity
(HRA) in Colombia.
HRA supports the Colombian government and civil society to foster
respect for human rights and protect vulnerable
The Colombian government is negotiating a peace accord
with the FARC guerrilla group
after 50 years of
conflict. What are the biggest challenges that the demobilization
of the FARC presents, and how can the donor community support
Colombia in overcoming those challenges?
Posted on August 18, 2016 by
It has become increasingly trendy in international development
to look to Silicon Valley and the tech world’s start-up culture for
inspiration in making our programs more “innovative.” Inspired by
the pace at which the tech world can turn an idea into products and
staples of everyday life, we aspiring innovators of international
development look to their example in turning ideas into social
Posing the question what does innovation look like in
international development, Chemonics and...
Posted on August 16, 2016 by
The United States’ economic future is inextricably linked to
Asia. A full quarter of the goods and services exported by the
United States are bound for Asia, and about 30 percent of our
imports come from the region. In addition, exports to Asia support
more than a million American jobs. As such, the United States is
committed to strengthening its economic relationship with Asia and
ensuring that the benefits are shared broadly. This shared
prosperity is founded on sustainable, inclusive growth...
Posted on August 11, 2016 by
August 12 is International Youth Day
, an exciting occasion meant
for governments and intuitions to draw attention to youth issues
worldwide. More than half the world’s population is now under the
age of 30 years old, and it is critical to review successes in
working with youth populations to empower young people as
tomorrow’s leaders. Below are three strands of success I found in
Chemonics work with youth in workforce development, livelihood, and
agripreneurship initiatives in 70 countries...
Posted on August 8, 2016 by
Each biennial International AIDS Conference is eventually
remembered for the broad themes coming out of a long, exciting, and
energizing week of presentations, networking, and protests. A key
theme of this year’s conference in Durban, South Africa, was
patient empowerment. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) was a
rallying cry to help the most vulnerable populations such as gay
men, female sex workers, and intravenous drug users take more
control of their efforts to avoid infection.
We heard from...
Posted on August 3, 2016 by
The slender young woman was slumped on the metal chair, her
malnourished baby in her arms. “I have no milk,” she said, pulling
her breast out of her shirt. “I just give him water because it is
As a Peace Corps volunteer in those days, I struggled in my
halting Hausa to explain to the mother how important exclusive
breastfeeding was for her infant. My counterpart, a Nigerien nurse
in our rural clinic outside of Mayahi, perfunctorily squeezed her
breast with his gloved hands, producing...
Posted on August 1, 2016 by
With mobile phone penetration rates exceeding 80 percent
in many developing
countries, development organizations have a new and exciting way of
communicating with and collecting information from beneficiaries
and stakeholders. Paired with the growing emphasis on
evidence-based decisions, collecting data through SMS surveys has
generated a significant following and an array of tools for design
and deployment. For many good reasons, the development community is
jumping on the bandwagon. But before...
Posted on July 27, 2016 by
Late last year, I know many of you joined me in applauding as
the United Nations formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals
, an unprecedented step
that aligns development agencies and stakeholders worldwide around
a single platform. The goals themselves are ambitious and sweeping
— ending poverty and hunger, for instance, are goals we have been
working toward for decades. But we need that ambition to unite us
and drive us.
To help bring these goals fully into development work on...
Posted on July 26, 2016 by
Tony Savelli is the project director of the Global Health
Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM)
Project. GHSC-PSM is working to ensure uninterrupted supplies of
health commodities reach patients around the world by transforming
supply chains at the global and country level.
What would you like to see GHSC-PSM accomplish over the
next five years? In other words, how do you define success for
project where health commodities are involved, the ultimate goal...
Posted on July 20, 2016 by
Some animals that depend on the forest tell us a great deal
about the health of their environment and the effectiveness of
efforts to preserve it. In the Philippines, environmentalists and
government officials are using a new system called the LAWIN
Forest and Biodiversity Protection System
to monitor the state
of forests in an unprecedented way – among other things, collecting
data on the presence of forest-dependent species.
The Philippines' vanishing
Like many developing countries, the...
Posted on July 18, 2016 by
This post also appeared on the Digital Hub
of the 2016 International AIDS
week I sat in a workshop about expanding access to treatment for
all people living with HIV, regardless of their clinical stage or
CD4 count, and remembered my early years working on HIV programs in
sub-Saharan Africa. As I reflected on how far we’ve come, I thought
about some of the biggest lessons I have learned over my career and
how we can apply them to challenges going forward.
When I started out, the...
Posted on July 13, 2016 by
Manuel de Araujo, Tagir Carimo, and Rui Chong Saw are the
mayors of Quelimane, Pemba, and Nacala — three coastal cities in
Mozambique that are struggling with the effects of climate change.
The mayors are collaborating with USAID/Mozambique’s Coastal City Adaptation Project
, a five-year
project aiming to increase the cities’ capacity to effectively
respond to the impacts of climate change.
Do you feel that climate change is impacting your city?
If so, what is the day-to-day impact?
Posted on July 11, 2016 by
By Kelly Cronen, Amelda Zotter, and Marcela de
World Population Day on July 11 reminds us to focus on
population trends and discuss the most pertinent issues facing our
population today. This year’s theme is “Investing in Teenage
Girls,” and it serves to highlight the importance of empowering the
largest generation of girls in history.
to the United Nations Population Fund, there are 600 million
adolescent girls in the world today with unique needs, challenges,
and aspirations for...
Posted on July 7, 2016 by
In the new context of thousands upon thousands of terabytes of
data and millions of database rows, monitoring and evaluation
(M&E) professionals find ourselves faced with a new reality. We
are now expected to not only understand the data ourselves, but
then to transform the raw data to something our audiences can
easily use for decision-making. This imperative comes directly from
the idea of utilization-focused evaluation
, which requires
that we ask ourselves how the data will be used and by...