Some of the girls using the app to practise how to read
Some of the girls using the app to practise how to read

World Education employs technology to boost reading skills of girls 

World Education, an education-centered non-governmental organisation has piloted the use of educational technology to support former out-of-schools girls to strengthen their English language proficiency in the Tolon District in the Northern Region.

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Dubbed "Google Read Along App", the intervention is being rolled out in schools such as a Kpana Presbyterian Primary School, Gburimani Ahmadiyya Primary School and Nyankpala D/A Primary School.

A total of 65 girls who underwent the Complimentary Basic Education (CBE) programme under the Strategic Approach to Girls Education (STAGE) project were selected for the programme.

The beneficiaries had been provided tablets with the Google Read Along application installed to support the beneficiary girls from basic 3 to basic 6 to acquire reading skills.

The Google Read Along application contain over 1,000 stories in four readability levels in multiple languages.

Each day, the girls supported by thier trained mentor teachers practice for 15 minutes outside of school hours using the  Google Read Along application which provides stories aligned to their reading levels.

The app operates offline and is devoid of distracting advertisements or in-app purchases.

During a recent visit to some of the beneficiaries schools, it was observed that the girls who could not read hitherto were now improving in thier english proficiency.

Boosting reading skills 

The Project Lead of World Education, Stephen Konde indicated that the intervention was a  build up of the STAGE project which aimed at  improving  the reading proficiency of former out-of-schools girls.


 He said a lot of the school girls were facing challenges transitioning to the formal school because the language of instruction in grade 3 and higher was English.

He added that the app allows children to play with decoded and word recognition games as well as read stories.

Mr Konde said by leveraging the Google's text-to-speech recognition and artificial intelligence, the children practicing reading has improved their readability skills which would support them to participate in class during teaching.

"If you go to our schools there are no storybooks but if you have the application installed on your tablet or smartphone it would go a long to support your children to understand how to read," he said.

He indicated that 80 per cent of girls that were at letter and word levels could now read a sentence, adding that there were a few girls that need special attention.

Mr Konde therefore appeal for funding to scale up the program to cover the entire district to improve the english language proficiency in the region and the country.

Unlocking potentials

For his part, the Tolon District Education Director, Alhassan Sumani said the initiative had come at a time the Ghana Education Service (GES) was putting in measures to improve upon the reading skills of the school children.

"The ability of a child to read is key to unlocking the potentials of school girls, this will support them in every discipline they find themselves" he said. 

Sharing thier experiences, some of the beneficiaries said they could now spell and pronounce words through the app.

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