Fantastic Phonics in Liberia
In 2007, Fantastic Phonics began to provide the program free of charge to charities working in poorer communities around the world.
In 2008, USAID (http://www.usaid.gov) chose Fantastic Phonics to use in a reading intervention program in Liberia, on the West Coast of Africa, where 85% of the population is considered to be below the international poverty line. Initially there were 178 schools in the program trial.
The program, known as EGRA (Early Grade Reading Assessment), was designed to provide an evidence–based assessment to find the best methods of early-reading instruction. The research ran from 2008 – 2010 (3 years), and the outcome of the program was so successful that it has been extended to an additional 2300 schools (75,000 copies have been printed).
After just one-and-a-half years of intervention,
- students in the "full treatment" group outperformed their peers dramatically, nearly tripling the gains made by the control group in oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.
- the reading fluency of students in the full treatment group improved 4.5 times faster than the control group – and comprehension improved 5 times faster.
At the final assessment, the children who received the full program performed nearly two and a half times better (250%) compared to their peers who did not. When the Program impacts are measured in expressed in terms of "grade effects" (jumps in ability) the Program generated the equivalent of …
- 1.9 school years jump in phonemic awareness,
- 1.8 school years jump in familiar word reading,
- 8.0 years jump in unfamiliar word fluency,
- 1.9 years jump in oral reading fluency,
- 2.0 years jump in reading comprehension, and
- 1.8 years jump in listening comprehension.
We're proud to have contributed to the improvement of children's lives. English is the "language of the internet" and having knowledge English gives a child access to the internet, and brings wide-ranging benefits to the children, their parents and the whole community.
Program Extensions - Preserving Indigenous Language
It is estimated that 43% of the world's 6000 languages are under threat. Fantastic Phonics has started a project to present the stories in both English AND the community's dialect/spelling. For example, Liberia has 30 indigenous languages, Australia has 300, India has 1000.
The Program uses the internet to capture translations of the program by community members who can translate the simple language of Fantastic Phonics into the local dialect/spelling. The system is automated and provides a method for local communities to pass on their literacy to their children. It is a free service.
For more information, contact jennifertcooper [at] hotmail.com