World Education’s Decodable Books Shaping National Curriculum in Benin

February 2nd, 2022 | Stories

Children in Benin are learning to decode new words in school and building foundations for life-long reading. The Benin government has collaborated with World Education to introduce a structured literacy approach based on phonics into the national curriculum in the 2021–2022 school year.

In 2019, World Education’s early grade reading assessment and teacher analysis revealed low-student performance in reading—especially in decoding words—and poor teacher pedagogical skills. In response to these findings, World Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Pre-school and Primary Education (MEMP) through the National Institute of Training and Research in Education (INFRE) and local school districts, developed five decodable books for grade 2 students. These engaging books—“My Fairy,” “I Love,” “My Cat Minou,” “My House,” and “Fatima and Ali are Going to School”—help students practice reading using phonics.

While reforming the primary education curriculum in 2020, the Beninese government adopted the decodable books at the national level. In September 2021, it announced that they will be used for the 2021–2022 school year. The phonics-based approach that World Education developed will foster early-grade reading success for years to come.

World Education, with support from INFRE and MEMP, also designed training modules for grade 1 and 2 teachers related to key components of reading and writing. We created a packet of activities including the teacher trainings and parent and teacher association trainings, and organized the distribution of supplies and materials to schools.

This activity was supported by the US Department of Agriculture-funded McGovern-Dole International Food for Education & Child Nutrition Program, which aims to improve the literacy of school-age children in 144 targeted schools in northern Benin. World Education is a subcontractor to Catholic Relief Services on the program.

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