September 30, 2022
Over the last two years of repeated COVID-19 school closures, our literacy team has collaborated with local partners to address pandemic-related learning loss and help close related learning gaps. In Bangladesh, this recently led to an exciting new initiative — one that brings the joy and magic of reading to students beyond the classroom. Room to Read Bangladesh’s new Community Reading Forums in Cox’s Bazar establish welcoming reading spaces where young learners can access local language storybooks, read independently, borrow reading materials and learn alongside other students and Room to Read-trained volunteer instructors — even when school is not in session.
Held in a range of locations across Cox’s Bazar — anywhere from outdoor gazebos decorated with colorful instructional materials to volunteer instructors’ living rooms featuring an assortment of engaging children’s books — the Community Reading Forums help to ensure Grade 1 and 2 students are consistently engaged in their literacy development. During each weekly reading forum, students are placed in reading groups where they receive support from their volunteer instructors, learning how to complete schoolwork, check out storybooks from the Community Reading Forum library, and access various educational content such as read-aloud videos or digital books hosted on Literacy Cloud, Room to Read’s free digital library.
Learning activities are pre-planned each week and delivered in a fun-filled atmosphere in each community gathering space. Free learning materials are also provided to students to ensure they are equipped with both the learning resources they need and the instruction necessary to support the development of key literacy skills and a habit of reading both inside and out of the classroom.
Since kicking off the initiative in April 2022 in partnership with the World Food Programme, our literacy team has opened a total of 137 Community Reading Forums to support students from our 137 partner primary schools in the region.
Learn more about Community Reading Forums in the video below!