During a pandemic, it would be understandable to expect student learning loss during disruptions to education due to school closures. However, the USAID All Children Reading—Cambodia (ACR—Cambodia), COVID-19 Impact on Learning study found that first grade students continued to develop early literacy skills during the pandemic, performing better on some skills than they did in pre-pandemic 2019.
Early Grade Reading
Why focus on early grades?
Learning to read can lift children out of poverty. Children learn to read in steps, picking up one skill after another until they master it. They’ll start with sounding out letters and end with reading books. Learning—and mastering—the reading steps in early grades means children have the skill to master other subjects in later grades.
The Early Grade Reading Barometer
The Early Grade Reading Barometer makes it easy to explore how well students around the world are reading. Sponsored by the USAID Asia Bureau, the Barometer serves as a one-stop-shop for early grade reading data.
The Barometer includes mostly Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) data. EGRA is one of many tests to determine children’s reading skill. To understand how to interpret the EGRA data available in the Barometer, visit our Resources page.
An Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) measures children’s pre-reading and reading skills. It is typically used with children in Kindergarten through Grade 8. EGRAs test children’s skill at different subtasks they need to learn, such as letter names and letter sounds, to be able to read fluently.
EGRA subtasks measure a child’s progress through the stages of reading skill development. There are three key data elements to understand when looking at EGRA data: average scores, score distribution, and zero scores, which is when a child cannot answer a single question correctly.
Assessing Reading Fluency
Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with expression. To determine reading fluency, students are presented a grade-appropriate passage and asked to read it out loud as quickly and carefully as they can. An assessor counts the words the student says correctly.
Students were provided 180 seconds (2 minutes) to read the following passage.
Kaarawan ni Nanay Ana ngayon. Nagluto siya ng pansit at pritong manok. Tinawag niya ang kaniyang mga anak para ihanda ang mesa. Walang sumasagot, hindi niya mahanap ang kaniyang mga anak! Lumabas siya ng bahay at nakita niyang naglalaro pala ang mga ito. Nakita din niya ang kaniyang asawa. May dala-dalang regalo at pasalubong. Kababalik lang nito galling sa Maynila. Niyakap niya ang kanyang asawa at mga anak. Pumasok sila sa bahay at kumain bilang buong pamilya Ito na ang pinakamasayang kaarawan ni Nanay Ana.
Today is Mother Ana’s birthday. She cooked noodles and fried chicken. Then she called her children to set the table. No one was heeding and she could not find her children! She rushed out and saw that they were playing. She then sees her husband. He was carrying gifts. He just arrived from Manila. She hugged her husband and children. Then they had a family meal inside their home. This is the happiest birthday of Mother Ana.