Reading Kenya Research Brief

Improving literacy and advancing gender equality through professional development of teachers in Kajiado County

Reading Kenya is a comprehensive literacy program centered on principles of gender equality, active learning, active teaching and encouraging the use of mother tongue language in the classroom.

  • The program combines access to relevant, locally created reading materials, in both local and national languages, with skilled teachers who use materials effectively.
  • Reading Kenya connects the national publishing industry and education networks to support the work of all stakeholders to create a sustainable culture of literacy.
  • Recent assessments provide evidence that Reading Kenya is successfully improving learning outcomes for girls and boys in Kajiado County.

Reading Kenya teacher in class with students
Reading Kenya trained teacher, Joyce Koikoi looks at one of her pupil's drawing of a cow at Esilanke Primary School, Kajiado, Kenya.

Located to the south of Nairobi and extending to the border of Tanzania, Kajiado County is part of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya inhabited by the indigenous pastoralist Maasai community. In Kajiado, books are scarce and students are typically discouraged from using their mother tongue, Maa. Instead, the instruction is predominantly in Swahili and English and classroom time is used to drill students for examinable subjects at the expense of developing reading-oriented and critical thinking skills. Since the beginning of the program in 2014, Reading Kenya has provided training to teachers and teacher-librarians in 70 primary schools to support children from pre-unit to class 3 in order to increase their reading and writing skills in Swahili, English and Maa.

“Students in Reading Kenya schools demonstrated a significant improvement in literacy in all three languages, improving literacy scores on average by more than 20 percent year over year.”


Funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and implemented in partnership by CODE and the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDCK), the program seeks to secure the future of children and youth by ensuring access to quality education.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018
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