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The USAID India Start Early: Read in Time program was implemented between 2014 and 2018, in Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, by CARE India Solutions for Sustainable Development (CISSD).

The goal of the Start Early: Read in Time program was to improve the reading skills of more than 100,000 students in marginalized communities by building first on students’ home language literacy skills and then transitioning to the school’s language of instruction. EGR Barometer data for Start Early: Read in Time were collected in 2018, representing the endline (last) assessment.

EGRA Subtasks

An EGRA is a test students take that can measure their skill at both pre-reading and reading subtasks. The subtasks used in this assessment are described below.

Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)

The oral reading fluency (ORF) subtask measures how quickly and accurately a student can read. It is a core component of EGRA 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 was familiar to them. They were asked to read it out loud “quickly but carefully” and were given 60 seconds from when they begin to read. The EGRA administrator timed the student, making note of any mistakes the student made while reading the words aloud. The score is reported as correct words per minute (cwpm).

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. Depending on how much of the ORF passage the student was able to read, the EGRA administrator asks the student up to five questions about the story. The EGRA administrator recorded the number of questions answered correctly.

Year 2018
Grade(s) 2
Language Hindi, Oriya
Assessment EGRA, ASER
Assessment Type Reading Program
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Districts Included in the Study

Not part of the study
States included in the study
Districts included in the study
Map of India

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    Results of Start Early Read in Time intervention in Odisha showed no statistically significant impact on the percentage of students able to read ASER Standard 2 level text.

  • 2/4

    In Odisha, about a quarter students (27%) read ASER Standard 2 level text. Boys and girls performed about the same.

  • 3/4

    Results of Start Early Read in Time intervention in Uttar Pradesh showed no statistically significant impact on the percentage of students able to read ASER Standard 2 level text.

  • 4/4

    In Uttar Pradesh, about 1 in 15 students (7%) read ASER Standard 2 level text. Boys and girls performed about the same.

Program Design

USAID, in partnership with CISSD, developed learning standards for students and teacher training materials, and provided contextualized learning materials for early grade students.

Evaluation Design

EGR Barometer data for Start Early: Read in Time were collected in 2018. Data analysis shows achievement for students in grade 2 compared to those in a control group. Note that as baseline data were not collected, it is not possible to fully attribute differences between the program and control groups to the intervention.

More detailed information about this program may be found in All Children Reading-Asia, Analysis of Early Grade Reading Assessment in India: Initial Data Collection and Assessment Report and All Children Reading-Asia, Analysis of Early Grade Reading Assessment in India, Impact Assessment Report.