A Tanzanian Success Story

Study confirms the effectiveness of CODE’s approach to developing reading skills and habits

Tanzanian boys sharing bookA recent study shows that the Reading CODE project is succeeding in its mission of creating capable young readers and writers in Tanzania. The assessment shows students from project schools outperforming their peers in non-project schools by leaps and bounds.


Reading CODE is a comprehensive initiative that seeks to create thoughtful, life-long readers. Reading CODE programs are active in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, and are adapted to each country’s context.

In Tanzania, the core components are:

  • The production of locally written and illustrated children’s fiction and non-fiction books
  • Support for libraries in stocking, distributing and promoting books
  • Training for teachers on successfully engaging students to build their comprehension and understanding

75 out of 105 primary schools in the Kongwa District of Tanzania are participating.


In November 2015, a team of researchers led by Dr. Charles Temple, of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, tested 104 students from thirteen randomly chosen schools participating in the project. The District Education Officer granted them permission to also test 48 children from six randomly chosen non-project schools.

Children from the non-project schools were matched to their project-school counterparts in terms of ethnic group, grade of study and rurality (in town, near a town or far from a town).

Tanzanian boy reading beside book shelfTHE RESULTS

On average, in grade two children in the project schools understood twice as much of what they read and were almost three times more fluent than their non-project peers! In grade four, students in project schools were considerably more advanced in comprehension and writing scores.

While the performance of boys and girls was tracked separately, no appreciable difference was found in their performance.


Studies have shown that literacy as a whole is linked with better income, political involvement, and other quality of life indicators when kids become adults. But they also show that it takes a fairly high level of literacy to experience appreciable improvements in quality of life.

We’re delighted to report that the children in Tanzanian project schools are well on their way to these high levels of literacy and –thanks to your support –are on the path to a brighter future!

Download the full research brief (pdf)


Monday, February 1, 2016
News Type: 
In the News

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