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A veteran teacher welcomes new training

Room to Read equips educators to get kids learning | April 26, 2024

Skill building Laos

Khieavanh Khanouthai had been teaching Grade 1 in Laos for 22 years. Yet students were leaving her class unable to read.

"No matter how much I tried, at the end of the semester my students could barely read and I had no idea why," Ms. Khanouthai shared.

When teacher trainees arrived from the nearby college to observe her class, she was both frustrated and saddened. Her students couldn’t read the lessons the trainees brought with them.

"People questioned my ability to teach," she said with sadness.

Soon after, Room to Read partnered Ms. Khanouthai's primary school to implement our Literacy Program, which includes training early grade teachers in proven literacy instruction methods. But Ms. Khanouthai was concerned about her ability to follow Room to Read’s new instruction method at her age. She considered an early retirement, figuring it would be easier to simply let a younger teacher take her place.

"I assured Ms. Khanouthai that we needed her valuable experience," the school principal shared. "First grade is a critical time in a child’s education."

Room to Read's Literacy Program in Laos. 

Recognizing her concern, Room to Read literacy coaches offered Ms. Khanouthai extra support, posting the new instructional steps on the classroom wall for easy reference. They also posted inspirational quotes and phrases to keep Ms. Khanouthai motivated and remind her of her deep love of teaching. 

When the training was over, our literacy coaches noticed a significant improvement in Ms. Khanouthai's teaching. She seemed happier and more engaged in her lessons. In follow-up trainings with Room to Read literacy couches, she shared that it was the first time she felt truly satisfied with her instruction.

After just one semester, Ms. Khanouthai no longer needed to look at the instructions she posted on the wall.

As part of Room to Read's comprehensive Literacy Program, Ms. Khanouthai received high quality reading and instruction materials, which helped lead to significant improvement in her students.


Room to Read's Literacy Program in Laos. 

"Children catch up fast. Now my students can sense how to blend new consonants with simple vowels, even before they open their textbooks!” she shared. "When we do review lessons, they eagerly remember which letter goes with which lesson and even the page number!"

Now, Ms. Khanouthai doesn’t mind when the teacher trainees come to her classroom. Beaming with pride, she said, "Now they never stop complimenting my students and asking me how I can teach them so well."



Room to Read assists educators in developing their skills and knowledge on effective literacy instruction and library management, with ongoing jo-embedded support from literacy coaches.

Our reading instruction is centered around engaging and evidence-based instructional materials that are developed and published by Room to Read, such as local language student textbooks with accompanying teacher guides.

You can help ensure educators are equipped to get kids learning.