International Consulting

Readsters is privileged to have opportunities to share our knowledge about effective early reading instructional with teachers in developing countries in Africa. The same research-based teaching strategies and techniques that work for students in the USA work in countries where most children have never seen a book when they enter school.

The students we work with will have to learn to read in an official language (generally, the language of colonization, e.g., French, Portuguese, English) that most do not speak when they enter school. Research shows that decoding skills transfer from one alphabetic language to another — and that it is much easier for children to learn to decode in their first language than in a second language. Many developing countries are moving to teaching early grade reading in the language students speak when they enter school. After students learn to read in their mother tongue, they transition to reading in the official language.

Our Projects

NECS Early Grade Reading, Niger, West Africa 2015–2016

In 2015 and 2016, Readsters worked with Plan International and Plan Niger to design reading lessons for children in grades 1 and 2 for the Niger Economic and Community Strengthening (NECS) project. The scripted lessons, named the Systematic Approach to Reading (ASL), are used in 150 rural schools in all 7 regions of Niger to read in four mother tongue languages: Fulfulde, Hausa, Kanuri, and Zarma.

Readsters’ role was to help design and write the grade 1 and grade 2 lessons and to prepare all the lesson materials in each of the 4 languages for publications. Readsters also helped design and deliver teacher training for the materials developed. Linda and Michael spent extensive time in Niger while working on this project.

Videos from the NECS project.

  • Even students not in the early grade reading program join in singing the new alphabet song
  • Systematic Approach to Reading (ASL) testimonials

Early Literacy in National Languages, The Republic of Gambia, West Africa, 2011–2012

In 2011 and 2012, Readsters consulted with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) on the Early Literacy in National Languages Pilot Project. The project was designed to pilot teaching decoding in grade 1 in 5 national languages: Jola, Mandinka, Pulaar, Sarahulleh, and Wolof. The pilot was implemented in 125 schools.

Our work included providing guidelines for the curriculum, revising teacher scripts for the lessons, training trainers, advising on a teacher observation instrument, as well as revisions, editing, and formatting the student textbooks. Michael visited the Gambia two times during this work.

International Conference Presentations

AREW Post Conference, Addis Ababa – 2016

Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Conference, Vancouver – 2016

USAID Global Summit, D.C. – 2015

Global Partnership for Education All Children Reading Africa, Kigali, Rwanda – 2012

For additional information on ways that we can help you, please call us at 703.535.7355 or email us at