Press Release: Save the Children promotes reading habits among children

Friday 14 June 2019

Hanoi, 14 June – Today, Save the Children hosted a ‘National Reading Day’ in Hanoi to promote reading habits, enhance access and availability of reading materials for children, and advocate for supporting children in developing their foundational literacy and math skills. Children, including ethnic minority children from the provinces of Yen Bai and Quang Nam, parents, teachers, policy makers, and relevant stakeholders attended the event. The event is a part of the project ‘Enhancing the school readiness and learning outcomes of ethnic minority children in Vietnam’ funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and implemented by Save the Children and its partners – Yen Bai Province’s Department of Education and Training and Tay Giang District’s (Quang Nam Province) Department of Education and Training.

At the event, Save the Children introduced results of a recent research on reading habits among ethnic minority children in the provinces of Yen Bai and Quang Nam. Accordingly, most of the interviewed students (95.5%) love reading, but 88.4% of books they read are textbooks and 61.6% are picture books. Students often read books at school and 84.7% books come from the library. With the implementation of the project ‘Enhancing the school readiness and learning outcomes of ethnic minority children in Vietnam’, Save the Children is promoting the replication of its common approaches in developing the fundamental literacy and math skills that children need to be successful in school, which has been tested worldwide and its effectiveness has been proven in addressing quality education among ethnic minority children.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Vuong Dinh Giap, Director of Program Implementation of Save the Children, said: “Literacy Boost is Save the Children’s innovative, evidence-based response to an alarming global trend – the rise in the numbers of children finishing primary school who are unable to read well enough to learn. There are currently 250 million children in the world who are unable to read, 130 million of whom have spent at least four years in primary education. Using evidence from reading research, Save the Children designed Literacy Boost, a four-pronged approach, including assessments, teacher training, material development, and community action, to significantly improve children’s core reading and writing skills. The program fosters vocabulary expansion, bolsters reading confidence and expression, and expands opportunities to practice reading both inside and outside the classroom”.

Participants engaged in discussions on measures and best practices to develop reading habits, enhance access to and availability of reading materials, exchange reading approaches at home for children, and strengthen the implementation of the national program on improving Vietnamese for pre-school and primary ethnic minority children 2016-2020 and towards 2025. Save the Children introduced its model of interactive reading for children at the event.

“Save the Children has 100 years of experience working for children worldwide. Our approaches to promote reading habits and develop foundational literacy and math skills for children have been implemented in countries all over the world. Through this project and other education projects, we desire to replicate these approaches in Vietnam, contributing to the development of Vietnamese children, especially ethnic minority children in remote and mountainous areas who are facing a lot of challenges to access quality education”.

About the project ‘Enhancing the school readiness and learning outcomes of ethnic minority children in Vietnam’

The project is to improve the school readiness and learning outcomes of ethnic minority children aged 3 – 11 years old in 12 remote communes in Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province and Van Chan, Mu Cang Chai Districts, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam.

To achieve this objective, our project interventions will focus mainly on pre-school and primary school children in both main and satellite schools. The project will mainly adopt Save the Children’s common approaches such as Emergent Literacy and Math Skills (ELM) and Literacy Boost (LB), both at school and at home, for improving the readiness and learning outcomes of children. These approaches will be complemented by Mother Tongue Based Multi Lingual Education (MTBMLE) to address the language barrier between teachers and students in ethnic minority communities.

The project will also promote quality learning environments in our target schools by supporting the improvement of school’s facilities, in particular some classrooms and reading corners/libraries in satellite schools and hygiene and sanitation facilities, as well as provision of appropriate educational materials like books, reading materials and other visual aids. Parent’s clubs, book banks and community action (such as reading camps, reading buddies, community read-a-thon) are organized to promote and improve reading habits and skills.

To create pathways for future scale-up, the project will continue our advocacy for the adoption of ELM and LB as approaches to improve the readiness and learning outcomes of marginalized children. We will also continue doing advocacy efforts to strengthen the better implementation of education policies, especially for ethnic minority children.

For media inquiry, please contact:

Mr. Hoang Viet Dzung – Communications Coordinator, Save the Children