Engaging Communities to Increase Literacy in Bangladesh

To support early literacy efforts, it is critical to engage caregivers and children outside of school. Through training and partnership with nearby schools, libraries have the potential to positively impact early grade literacy efforts. To support this, Beyond Access is partnering with Save the Children in Bangladesh to support their USAID-funded READ program and expand community literacy efforts into the library system. Beyond Access and Save the Children in Bangladesh will partner to modernize library spaces, equip libraries with age and level-appropriate learning materials, and train librarians and ensure that they can lead these programs.

Among the goals of Save the Children’s USAID-funded READ program is strengthening community support for early grade reading in 1,510 schools across 18 districts. Some key challenges are that young children do not benefit from a home literacy environment that cultivate reading skills, such as children’s books or reading to children.

To date, the two main library systems in Bangladesh (community libraries and public libraries) have remained largely separated from early grade literacy efforts and have primarily served the educated and literate. At a Vision Forum in Dhaka in November 2014, a group of stakeholders from both the library and the literacy fields noted this gap. Forum participants proposed that the untapped resource of libraries in Bangladesh might be equipped to better contribute to organized early literacy programs like READ.
  • Build the capacity of public and community libraries in Bangladesh to support literacy building efforts in their community
  • Improve children’s literacy outcomes through innovative programs at 20 community and public libraries in different regions of Bangladesh

Equip libraries

Ensure libraries have tablets and other appropriate technology publicly available to support literacy efforts

Train librarians

Equip librarians with the skills to support early literacy efforts in their communities and manage new technology

Implement new services

Libraries will implement new programs designed to support parent and child engagement in literacy efforts