All Children Reading: Community of Practice Event
Monday, July 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM (EDT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Interest in early grade reading is at an all-time high. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has established a goal of reducing the number of non-reading children in grade 2 by half, in at least 20 countries within 5 years. USAID aims to improve the reading skills of 100,000,000 children by 2015. DfID and AUSAID similarly have set improving reading as a headline goal. These donors together represent an estimated 50% of global aid to basic education.
At the same time, countries have started to commit to improving children's reading. Recently, 26 countries met in Rwanda, and made ambitious and specific pledges to improve reading outcomes. At the GPE replenishment conference in November 2011, similar pledges were made.
The time frame to achieve these goals is short and a heightened sense of urgency and focus has emerged. As a result, the demand for services in this area is increasing rapidly. CSOs/NGOs, consulting firms and other implementing partners will play a critical role in strengthening the supply of expertise in early literacy. Donor agencies, countries and other partners will need support from a range of sources in the months and years to come. Given what we know from evidence to date about the challenges of improving reading outcomes, the support must be as technically sound and rigorously evaluated as possible and the quantity of available support must increase quickly.
GPE has discussed these supply-side issues with USAID, DfID, and AUSAID. We have jointly concluded that it would be helpful if a broad group of CSOs, NGOs, consulting firms and other implementing partners were to learn as much as possible from each other, so as to increase and improve the quality of support for early grade reading programs. It is our hope that a strong community of practice will emerge, where sharing successes and failures, developing evidence and building a knowledge base for the field will be a long term collaborative endeavor. All stakeholders are expected to benefit, as countries, funding partners and technical partners work together to deliver and support the most effective, evidence-based programming possible.
To further this process, GPE is inviting a range of organizations to share their evidence-to-date with each other and with us. We propose to convene an event from the evening of July 23rd through the late afternoon of July 25th, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (details on venue to follow). We plan to follow this event with similar meetings in Europe and/or Australia, pending discussions with other donors. In the future there will also be additional regional events similar to the ones held in Rwanda, to create opportunities for all concerned actors to improve their ability to improve children’s reading.
Given the need to quickly improve how we help children learn to read, our approach to "best practice" at this event will be fairly formal. Specifically, we would like organizations with strong evidence of reading improvement (including parameters such as the number of students who learned to read with fluency, costing, sustainability, scale, and time frames), as measured via rigorous evaluation, preferably impact evaluation, to take the lead in sharing and presenting the key practices they feel were accountable for their results. We see this opportunity to present as a responsibility of implementing partners to further the knowledge of the field, and request that organizations that have seen results share these experiences. Selection criteria and information about presenting is in the box below.
In addition to organizations with extensive and evaluated experience, other organizations in our community are likely to be fairly new to rigorous reading improvement programming. Others may simply be intrigued by these opportunities and others may have done some work in the area but may have seen somewhat disappointing results. These organizations are invited to share more informally or simply to attend, discuss, and network. Key conclusions stemming from the sessions will be documented and distributed to participants and the community of practice at large.
In order to preserve the intended nature of a technical meeting focused around plenary-discussion only, we will limit physical attendance to 60 participants. Registration will be on a first-response, first-served basis and with a limit of two representatives per organization. If more than 60 organizations respond, we may have to reduce representation to one person per organization. Space will be reserved for the 6 organizations that will be the lead presenters (see selection criteria below) and for a few observers from donor organizations. We urge all interested in attending to RSVP as soon as possible. The event will also be broadcast live via Adobe Connect, with a chat option for submitting questions and comments, for organizations and additional staff members who cannot attend in person. If the event proves popular and there is excess demand, it can be repeated.
The format of the discussion will be a modified Delphi process. A lead presenter for each topic will be chosen (see selection criteria below) to present in detail. Presentations are expected to be informal (no need for high production values) but technically detailed. During each session, other organizations that can contribute to the topic or have questions will have time to do so, as there will be only 6 sessions in 2 days, allowing approximately 2:15 hours for each. Each session will be strongly moderated so as to allow for a convergence of ideas. Strong moderation will also be used to remind all to point out what precise evidence they base their assertions on, or whether they are proposing ideas that are interesting but have not been tried or proven yet. A note taker will summarize the conclusions for later usage by the community.
As noted, the idea of the workshop is to lead with the best possible research-based evidence on what works. To accomplish this, we will have a selection of lead presenters based on evidence of previous work, as judged by a panel of experts. Organizations wishing to present are asked to submit the information outlined on the next page.
If your organization would like to present, please send the information requested below to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5:00 PM EST on June 8th.
Technical questions may be addressed to Luis Crouch, email@example.com.