Girl student smiling and holding a touchscreen tablet

Using Technology to Enhance Reading Services in Peru with Worldreader

Latin America suffers from significant inequality when it comes to many areas, including education. For example, one in two students in Latin America do not reach the basic reading proficiency level required in the PISA assessment, led by the OECD, which highlights the learning crisis in the region. Of the countries on the PISA assessment, Peru scored 64th out of 77. One factor contributing to the gap is that in Peru, less than half of all homes have access to the internet. Not only does technology and the internet unlock access to economic opportunity and advancement, but it also is the key to many educational services. Technology serves a vital role in providing access to reading tools for users of all ages. However, due to inadequate and unequal access to technology, many readers in Peru are left without these essential learning and reading materials.

Worldreader is a global nonprofit championing digital reading in underserved communities to create a world where everyone can be a reader. They feature an extensive selection of approximately 35,000 digital books, stories, and teaching materials in 52 languages to use for free. Their easy-to-use mobile app is designed to work on the most basic internet-enabled phone, using minimal data and loading times. Their current work in Latin America focuses on Peru where their recently launched Crecelee project targets children in grades two to four with the aim of instilling reading habits from a young age. They’re partnering with schools and working with families in low-income communities where children face major barriers to school readiness. Digital reading can help these children develop 21st-century skills that will set them up for success in and outside of school. Most importantly, we believe solutions like this one will reduce the inequalities in the education system, helping to reduce poverty in the country.

Project: Worldreader would leverage a team of Team4Tech volunteers from NetApp to assist in these areas:

  • Product: Research and test the feasibility of using virtual assistance such as chatbots, on WhatsApp, messenger, etc. as well as develop audio tips for parents to be added to the app
  • Data and Assessment: Produce training materials on their data dashboard for partners to use the data provide more effectively as well as research, test, and recommend online assessment tools for children’s literacy levels
  • User Engagement/Behavior Change: Support with thinking through how to improve their user engagement strategy as well as provide recommendations on their behavior change strategy

Impact: In 10 years, World Reader has reached 13 million readers in 46 countries. The CreceLee (meaning “Grow and Read”) project will bring digital reading to over 10,000 households and up to 20 schools in Lima, Peru. This will be Worldreader’s first-ever project in South America.