By testing new ideas before introducing them on a larger scale, our pilot programs help Room to Read to assess the effectiveness (how well does it work?) and feasibility (is it possible to implement?) of new programmatic ideas and innovations.
Our pilots also allow Room to Read to save time and money by working on a smaller scale and making adjustments before fully implementing a new program.
Additionally, pilot testing helps us to:
- Experiment with different approaches so we can choose the ones that are most effective
- Identify problems that might occur during larger-scale implementation
- Determine the costs of implementing the innovation on a larger scale
- Build capacity of staff and partners before implementing the larger-scale project
- Convince sponsors that a larger-scale project is worth funding based on pilot results
Current Pilot Programs
Qualcomm Wireless Reach Initiative – Vietnam and Nepal
In partnership with Qualcomm (QCOM) and through the Wireless Reach Initiative, Room to Read is piloting “wireless” computer labs in Vietnam and Nepal. Our goal is to offer an affordable way to provide high-quality and reliable Internet connectivity to schools located in areas where landline access is limited or unavailable.
We are working together to address the challenge of Internet connectivity and technology access by using QCOM’s 3G wireless technology – the same technology that enables mobile phone users to access the Internet.
With Qualcomm’s support, Room to Read is establishing 11 wireless computer labs in government-run secondary schools across Vietnam and Nepal. Five of these labs will be in Nepal; the other six will be in Vietnam.
For more information about Room to Read’s prior work in bringing technology to schools, please see our Computer Room program.
Primary Reading Enhancement Program (PREP) – India
Building on the success of the Reading Kit developed in 2007 with support from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, in 2008 we received a generous grant from the Quality Education in Developing Countries Initiative of The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation to fund the development of the Primary Reading Enhancement Program (PREP) in India.
This two-year pilot is being implemented in grades 1 and 2 in 150 schools with Reading Rooms across the states of Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Our goal is to raise students’ reading proficiency to a point where they can take full advantage of the libraries we establish and the local language books we publish to support and encourage a passion for learning.
PREP aims to help children gain the literacy skills necessary to become independent readers. Key materials include conversation charts, local rhyme and poem books, and word, letter and picture cards. The pilot program also incorporates materials from our Reading Room and Local Language Publishing programs; teachers also receive a teacher’s manual and activity guidebook.
As part of the program and in conjunction with the Indian provincial governments, Room to Read will train teachers to implement the Reading Kit and strengthen their reading assessment tools.
Reading Skills Development Program – Nepal
After conducting reading assessments in several districts, Room to Read Nepal established a reading skills pilot program to help children gain the literacy skills necessary to become independent readers.
This one-year pilot is being implemented in grade 1 and 2 at 50 schools across the districts of Nawalparasi, Pyuthan and Dhading. Our goal is to raise students’ reading proficiency to a point where they become independent readers who are able to take full advantage of the libraries we establish and the local language books we publish.
The Reading Skills Development program supports the development of children’s literacy skills in Nepali, which is the first language for these students and the language used in the classroom. Key materials include conversation charts, local rhyme, story books, poem books, and word, letter and picture cards. The pilot also incorporates materials from our Reading Room and Local Language Publishing programs; teachers implementing the program also receive a teacher’s guide and activity guidebook.
The program supports teachers in reaching the outcomes stated in the government curriculum and has been approved by the Department of Education and Curriculum Development Center. Teacher training, implementation of the program and periodic monitoring will be carried out in collaboration with Nepal’s Ministry of Education.
Accelerated Reading Ability Enhancement Program – Sri Lanka
The Accelerated Reading Ability Enhancement Program provides basic literacy remediation and content literacy classes for students in grades 2 through 5. This one-year pilot is being implemented at 21 schools in Wilgamuwa.
The program operates during the school day and supports the development of children’s literacy skills in Sinhala, which is the first language for these students and the language used in the classroom.
The program has two phases. Phases I provides intensive remediation for students who need additional support in attaining basic literacy skills. Phase II provides continued support in basic literacy skills with a focus on helping students reach grade-appropriate reading levels. Teachers also receive training on improving language arts instruction in the classroom.