Global research is clear: students must learn to read, in order to read to learn. To be successful in math, science, and all other subject areas, students must become competent, proficient readers in the early grades.
Forty-nine percent of Haitian students cannot read a single word when they enter third grade (Gove 2010; USAID 2012).
In the fall of 2014, ACE Haiti continued its partnership with the CEEC and CRS by launching “Read to Learn,” a high-impact literacy intervention in fifty Haitian Catholic schools. This project improved literacy outcomes for over 7,000 students, trained approximately 130 teachers, and achieved the strongest outcomes of any literacy project in Haiti to date.
Research by ACE Haiti and Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development of this project has been shared widely with key stakeholders in the Haitian government and international community, and has provided the strongest evidence-base for the continued expansion and investment in this approach to literacy in Haiti. In other words, our work is already having a major impact at a policy level.
Leveraging this success, ACE Haiti has received $13.3 million in funding from USAID ($6.2 million), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($3.24 million), and an anonymous foundation partner ($3.75 million), to scale up and continuously refine and improve this literacy approach to 350 schools serving 75,000 students.
ACE Haiti is now driving innovation and improvement in early grade reading practice along with a rigorous applied research agenda. ACE Haiti is developing new “add-ons” to the literacy program and rigorously testing them through a set of randomized control trials to measure the impact on student learning. These include:
Utilizing enhanced, leveled, classroom libraries in Creole and French, diagnostic classroom-based student assessments, and instructional materials to support high-yield instructional practices that will foster gains in reading comprehension.
Engaging communities to improve literacy outcomes through summer reading camps and after-school peer to peer tutoring focussing on lower-achieving students.
Fostering greater in-class differentiation of instruction and academic support for lower-achieving students with the aid of decodable, curriculum aligned-texts.
Supporting students socio-emotional learning through a targeted set of interventions and training in schools.