Save the Children's Study Shows that Out-of-Classroom Learning Boosts Kids' Reading Skills

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than a third of all primary-school age children around the world still cannot read or write, whether they attend school or not. The good news: Save the Children's new report shows that teaching children early on how to read not only in school but also through activities outside the classroom effectively boosts reading ability.

"Worldwide, 250 million children of primary school age cannot read or write. Going to school isn't enough to guarantee learning," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO for Save the Children. "The gap in reading ability between strong and struggling readers widens with age, which is why it's critically important that children learn to read early on."

In its report, Beyond School Walls: A Boost for Readers, Save the Children reviewed results from the first year of its Literacy Boost program in seven participating countries. The program helps improve children's reading ability by measuring their skill level, training teachers and engaging communities.  

The new study focuses on the most struggling readers in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan and Zimbabwe: children living in poverty, girls and children with few books or readers at home. The findings show that, across the board, Literacy Boost program participants demonstrated significantly greater growth in reading ability than students not enrolled in the program. Additionally, Literacy Boost students were much more likely to stay in school than their peers who do not attend the program.

A peek at the results:  

  • Children living in extreme poverty who participate in Literacy Boost were 91.6 percent more likely in Pakistan, 73.5 percent more likely in Zimbabwe and 30 percent more likely in Bangladesh to stay in school than their peers who are not in the program.
  • Girls attending Literacy Boost learned 6.5 times more letters of the alphabet in Pakistan, and 2.5 times more letters in Nepal, than female students not in the program.
  • In Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, Literacy Boost students from homes with the fewest books more than doubled their word-reading ability over the course of the year.

To read the full report and watch a short video, visit:

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Video with caption: "Literacy Boost: Reading Beyond School Walls". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Save the Children Literacy Boost program participant Radhika, 9, practices reading with her grandfather, Makuram Dangaura, 55, outside their home in Rajipur village, Nepal. Save the Children's new report shows that learning, not only in school, but outside the classroom, as well, is key to boosting children's reading skills. Photo by Susan Warner." Image available at:

PDF with caption: "Beyond School Walls: A Boost for Readers". PDF available at:

SOURCE Save the Children


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