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The Reading Enhancement for Advancing Development (READ) Project was a 4-year collaboration of Save the Children and the Government of Bangladesh, with support from USAID, from 2014 to 2017.

The goal of READ was to use implement improved evidence-based literacy instruction in grades 1-3.

Project READ was conducted by Save the Children. Save the Children’s approach to early grade reading is called Literacy Boost, which only assesses students for oral reading fluency, accuracy, and reading comprehension if they were able to correctly read five words of the reading passage in the first 30 seconds. This represented only 10% of the grade 1 students, 33% of the grade 2 students, and 65% of the grade 3 students sampled. In other words, 90%, 67% and 35% of students in grades 1, 2, and 3 respectively, did not score well enough to be tested.

Literacy Boost Measurements

Literacy Boost is an early grade reading survey by Save the Children. Unlike EGRA, the Literacy Boost Reading Assessment task only assesses students for oral reading fluency, accuracy, and reading comprehension if they were able to correctly read five words of the reading passage in the first 30 seconds. All subtasks were untimed, except for oral reading fluency (ORF).

Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)

The oral reading fluency (ORF) subtask measures how quickly and accurately a student can read. It is a core reading skill measurement because it brings together lower-level reading skills (such as decoding and familiar word recognition) with how quickly and easily the student can read a given word (called automaticity).

Students were given a short, written passage on a topic that is familiar to them. They were asked to read it out loud “quickly but carefully”. If they were unable to read at least five words correctly, they were stopped and considered “non-readers”. The test administrator timed the student, making note of any mistakes the student makes while reading the words aloud. The Literacy Boost score is reported only for “readers” (not non-readers) as correct words per minute (cwpm).

Initial Sound

The initial sound subtask is a measure of a student’s ability to identify the first sound in a word. It also measures a student’s ability to separate words into sounds and to manipulate those sounds.

Students were presented with 10 sets of 3 similar-beginning-sounding words, of which 2 words had similar beginning-sounds. The test administrator records the number of correct words identified. This task is untimed in Literacy Boost.

Letter Names

The letter names subtask tests students’ ability to recognize letters and accurately speak their corresponding name.

Students were presented with a sheet listing 50 letters from the Bangla alphabet and were asked to read out loud as many as they could. The test administrator counted the number of letters the child pronounced correctly. This task is untimed in Literacy Boost.

Familiar Words

The familiar word reading subtask presents the student with words they are expected to be able to read at their grade level and have likely encountered before.

The student was instructed to read aloud as many words as they could. The test administrator counted the number of words the child got correct. This task is untimed in Literacy Boost.

End Rhymes

Students were presented with 10 sets of 3 words, of which 2 words had ending rhymes. The test administrator records the number of correct words identified. This task is untimed in Literacy Boost.

Accuracy

Accuracy measures the percentage of words in the reading passage read correctly. The Literacy Boost Reading Assessment task only assesses students for accuracy if they were able to correctly read five words of the reading passage in the first 30 seconds. This represented only 10% of the grade 1 students, 33% of the grade 2 students, and 65% of the grade 3 students sampled. In other words, 90%, 67% and 35% of students in grades 1, 2, and 3 respectively, did not score well enough to be tested.

Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is the main goal of reading—understanding what is read. Comprehension is a complex task that requires some ability in all other reading skills.

This subtask is paired with the ORF subtask. Unlike EGRA, the Literacy Boost Reading Assessment task only assesses students for comprehension if they were able to correctly read five words of the reading passage in the first 30 seconds. This represented only 10% of the grade 1 students, 33% of the grade 2 students, and 65% of the grade 3 students sampled. In other words, 90%, 67% and 35% of students in grades 1, 2, and 3 respectively, did not score well enough to be tested.

The students who met these criteria were asked 10 questions about a passage that included literal, inferential, and evaluative questions. The reading comprehension score is the number of those questions answered correctly. This task is untimed in Literacy Boost.

Year 2014
Grade(s) 1, 2, 3
Language Bangla
Assessment Literacy Boost
Assessment Type Reading Program
View Country Page

Districts Included in the Study

Not part of the study
Part of the study
Map of Bangladesh

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    On average, boys and girls read at about the same rates in each grade.

    Bar chart showing average oral reading fluency for boys and girls in grades 1-3. Numerical values presented in bar chart: Grade 1 girls 16, Grade 1 boys 16, Grade 2 girls 22, Grade 2 boys 24, Grade 3 girls 28, Grade 3 boys 28.
  • 2/4

    About a 1 in 4 grade 2 readers (24%) and 2 in 5 grade 3 readers (43%) could not answer a single reading comprehension question.

  • 3/4

    Grade 1 students were able to identify just over half of all letters correctly. Among Grade 2 students, over 70 percent of letters were identified correctly.

  • 4/4

    Students in Grade 1 were able to identify about about 25 percent of a list of familiar words. Grade 2 students, with an additional year of schooling, identified half (50 percent) of familiar words presented to them, while Grade 3 students identified about two-thirds (65 percent) of the words.

Program Design

READ provided trained teachers and school administrators, expanded the use of supplementary reading materials, increased use of the early grade reading assessment, and strengthened community support for early grade literacy.

Under READ, students were assessed for oral reading fluency, accuracy, and reading comprehension if they were able to read correctly five words of a reading passage in the first 30 seconds. Schools were selected by systematic random sampling; students were also chosen randomly. The assessments were administered in the Bangla language in grades 1, 2, and 3. A total of 1,005 grade 1, 1,012 grade 2, and 1,001 grade 3 students are included in the sample. As with the original study, estimates provided in the Barometer for Bangladesh are calculated as if they came from a simple random sample.

Evaluation Design

EGR Barometer data for READ came from the 2014 READ baseline assessment for grades 1,2, and 3. More detailed information about this implementation of READ and the specific measures may be found in READ Baseline Survey Report, Save the Children, October 2014.