An official website of the United States government

USAID and Partners Launch Effort to Jumpstart Childhood Literacy
November 22, 2011

Washington, D.C.
November 18, 2011

The U.S. Agency for International Development, in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and World Vision, today launched “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.” The partners expect to commit more than $20 million over several years to advance childhood literacy around the world.

“Teaching children to read in primary school translates to improved health outcomes and economic growth in developing countries,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said. “Through this partnership, we are helping to promote scalable, sustainable, cost-effective innovations that will improve reading outcomes for millions of children in low-income communities.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the launch event’s keynote speaker, announced that the Department of Education will join as a new partner, collaborating with the founding partners as they work to dramatically improve world literacy.

“Supporting literacy and reading skills among young children can help instill a joy of learning and promote opportunities for millions of children around the world,” Secretary Duncan said. “Innovative approaches to reading instruction, tools and resources are needed to help promote reading and literacy among all of the world’s children to break the cycle of poverty.”

Additionally, the launch event introduced the Mobiles for Reading working group, which encourages individuals and organizations to apply mobile devices and applications to improve early grade reading performance. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek served as master of ceremonies.

“Our goal is to help children, especially girls, gain access to excellent early childhood and primary education by strengthening community involvement and fostering an effective environment for learning,” said Kent Hill, Senior Vice President of International Programs at World Vision. “We are hopeful that All Children Reading will not only improve reading instruction, but will instill a passion for reading and a lifelong desire for learning among millions of children in developing nations.”

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd drew attention to the 67 million children around the world of primary school age who are not in school.

“Education is the flagship of Australia’s aid program because it is one of the most effective ways to address global poverty,” Mr. Rudd said. “Australia is pleased to be on the forefront of global education efforts along with the United States. The All Children Reading initiative is a practical example of our shared commitment to helping children worldwide to read and write.”

For more information, please visit: www.allchildrenreading.org.