Room to Read Impact

The International Association of School Librarianship congratulates Room to Read on its milestone in improving the education of 10 million children through the provision of school libraries, children’s publishing in their own languages and through girls’ education scholarships.

Room to Read shares many of IASL’s goals. Room to Read works in Asia and Africa to achieve these. The co-founder Erin Ganju points to 17,500 transformed government schools, 10,000 teachers trained every year in reading and writing instruction and library management, and more than 30,000 girls who have been able to pursue an education with the aid of Room to Read.

Room to Read continually evaluates data on how they are achieving their goals. As part of its milestone, Room to Read has released a document based on their data which may be of interest to IFLA members and friends, What we’ve learned works in global education after educating 10 million children. The main points are:

1.     Children’s speed of reading and comprehension is raised through systematic reading instruction focusing on phonics

2.     Children’s likelihood of learning to read is much greater when their teachers have been trained in how to conduct reading activities, such as reading aloud and shared reading

3.     Children have a preference for illustrated fiction books, e.g. folklore and fantasy

4.     The operation of school libraries is more effective when they are consistently evaluated and monitored

5.     Students’ interest in reading both at school and at home is affected by access to a school library

6.     Transparency is important and results in greater community participation

7.     Working in partnership with local governments is crucial for advocacy and improving instruction and professional development for teachers

More findings related to girls’ education and an excellent infographic showing these findings are available at