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PRIMR seen improving literacy rates among youngsters

30 July 2014, 15:28

Nairobi - Primary school literacy rates in Kenya can be improved through the Primary Mathematics and Reading (PRIMR) initiative, a study buy a leading international research institution and an American university.

The study conducted by the RTI International and Florida State University established that PRIMR increased oral reading fluency, reading comprehension and the proportion of children who could read at a set benchmark within one year of implementation.

Kenya's Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the British Department for International Development, with technical leadership from RTI International, leads the initiative.

“While primary-level education participation is high in Kenya, literacy outcomes remain poor in the country and the sub-Saharan Africa region as a whole," said Benjamin Piper, Chief of Party of the PRIMR initiative and co-author of the report.

“Our findings show that focused interventions such as the PRIMR initiative can have significant impacts on literacy outcomes.”

PRIMR is a three-year programme focused on improving reading and mathematics in grades 1 and 2 by aligning learning materials, classroom instruction and teacher practices with current research, offering continuous instructional support and feedback, and providing basic instructional materials for teachers and English and Kiswahili books for students.

Researchers found that students who participated in the initiative were approximately two times more likely to read at the benchmark than students who did not participate in the initiative.

The first-year impact of PRIMR was observed to be larger in nonformal schools than in formal public schools.

The findings also indicate that the PRIMR interventions led to modest improvements in children's reading comprehension.

The programme had a greater impact on Kiswahili reading comprehension than on English reading comprehension, in both grades and both school settings.

 – CAJ News

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