Christie Vilsack joined the U.S. Agency for International Development as the Senior Advisor for International Education in March 2013.
No matter what country, a free library is the soul of a community. It protects the past, preserves the present and assures the future. In order to teach a million Zambian children to read better, they need to practice. The Lubuto Library gives them a place to do just that.
We are in rural Zambia, and it took about two minutes to realize that I was in the presence of a good teacher. Since 2010 when USAID committed to getting 100 million more children reading and learning — 1 million in Zambia — we’ve helped that country boost teaching skills in the rural schools serving thousands of kids that live too far from public institutions.
The United States is making an investment in Malawi — almost $100 million dollars over five years. But how is this going to change day-to-day life for a girl like Martha? The answer: “If Martha learns to read, she will be a more informed adult. If she can’t read, she’ll stick to the old ways of doing things.”
Two hundred and fifty million children in the world cannot read according to the recently released Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All; 130 million of them are in primary school. If these children do not learn to read they will have fewer opportunities and struggle with learning for the rest of their lives.
Early Grade Reading Assessment is an essential tool in our educational toolbox as USAID invests in teaching 100 million children to read in 39 countries around the world.