In response to disappointing national literacy scores among grade-school children, Cambodia's Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS) shifted to a phonics-based reading curriculum for children in Grades 1-3. World Education, in collaboration with Kampuchean Action for Primary Education, implemented the Total Reading Approach for Children (TRAC) program in Kampong Cham Province to support the new reading curriculum.
TRAC worked with Cambodia's Primary Education Department to develop short-interval reading benchmarks to help teachers identify struggling students and the areas in which they struggle. School-based Literacy Coaches used the TRAC Rapid Response System to address the needs of students based on the assessment.
The TRAC Rapid Response System includes:
- Encouraging parents to promote reading at home
- Mobile learning opportunities through TRAC's development of a Khmer language smartphone application and 30 different units on phonemic skills from the MoEYS readers
- Reading toolkit materials that include flashcards, letter stamps, reading games, magnetic letters, and letter puzzles taken from existing supplementary reading materials and linked to the new readers
Funding for TRAC was awarded through the All Children Reading: Grand Challenge for Development award, a collaboration between USAID, World Vision, and Australian Aid.
TRAC supported 2,352 children in Grades 1 and 2 from eight target schools in Siem Reap and Kampong Cham provinces. Reading benchmarks and corresponding assessments were developed for both grades, and those benchmarks have been adopted by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, who are preparing to reproduce and distribute them country-wide. Results showed that scores of students in participating schools, when compared with students in control schools, were significantly improved.
Watch our video on the TRAC program.