Local Language Books Spark a Joy of Reading for Students in Mozambique

October 1st, 2021 | Stories


In Mozambique, though Portuguese is the official language, 85% of people speak Portuguese as a second or third language. Only 10% of children can speak it when they begin school and as a result, fewer than 5% of grade 3 students can read at an appropriate level for their grade, according to a 2016 study from the Ministry of Education and Human Development. School systems lack reading materials written in local languages and teachers who are trained in local-language instruction. 

The USAID Vamos Ler! (Let’s Read!) program aims to improve early-grade literacy outcomes by developing reading and writing skills in local-language, as well as speaking and listening in Portuguese. To achieve these goals, World Education trains teachers to improve the quality of instruction, supports policymakers to improve frameworks and delivery systems, and provides monitoring and evaluation. 

The introduction of local-language reading materials helped students find joy and curiosity in learning. Jordão, a student in the Zambézia province of Mozambique, was excited to receive reading, writing, and supplementary books in his local language. This excitement led to improved reading performance for Jordão, and an eagerness to see what the next school year would bring. 

“I can’t wait to see the colorful drawings of people and places in my books this year! Last year I learned new words and letter sounds from my books. I think this year I will learn even more.” – Jordão 

Jordão’s teacher, Carolina, believes that having materials in local languages with illustrations based on their own communities contributes to the childrens’ connection to their own education. Carolina helps instill a love of learning in her students, and as a Vamos Ler! trainer of trainers, she is able to help other teachers develop their instructional skills and improve student performance.

Vamos Ler! is funded by the US Agency for International Development. World Education, Inc., is a subcontractor to Creative Associates International (CAI).

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