Read to Succeed

Zambia has the lowest achievement scores among Southern Africa Development Community countries. Non-conducive learning environments and insufficiently skilled teachers have limited the opportunity to provide quality education, and children are grappling with the consequences of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Working in 1,300 public schools in six provinces, Creative’s Read to Succeed project strives to improve student performance by focusing on early grade reading. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of General Education

To improve school effectiveness, the project takes a whole school, whole teacher, whole child approach which views schools as centers of learning, care and support, and addresses five key elements common to school effectiveness models: learning; teaching; management and accountability; parental/community participation; and responsiveness to children’s needs.

Read to Succeed builds teachers’ skills through training and effective, phonics-based literacy tools. More than 7,600 educators have received in-service training, coaching and mentoring in the new reading approach.

A midline early grade reading assessment, released in 2015, revealed a 296.6 percent jump in reading comprehension among second and third graders in Read to Succeed-supported schools. The survey also showed gains in oral reading of 237 percent and a 131.2 percent jump in letter sound knowledge.

Sustainability is at the heart of the project, with the Ministry of General Education taking the lead in policy changes that support student learning. With support from the project, the Ministry has put in place a new National Literacy Framework, revised curriculum, school-based assessments, a school management framework and performance level descriptors.

The project also improves school management and creates incentives and accountability structures that ensure the delivery of quality education. Taking a holistic approach to schools, teachers and students, it integrates these education initiatives with community, parental and government engagement—ensuring support and sustainability.

AS part of its whole child approach, Read to Succeed works with the Ministry to promote HIV prevention by implementing education components that address health and psychosocial needs. Supported by USAID/PEPFAR, the program integrates girls’ education, sexual and gender-based violence prevention, life skills and community engagement into a holistic strategy to improve student performance.



Some 35 percent of Zambians ages 15 to 24 are illiterate—the highest rate in Southern Africa. The Zambian government and USAID are teaming up with communities, schools and parents to boost literacy through quality curriculum and improving overall school effectiveness. See how this whole school, whole teacher, whole learner approach is spreading a culture of reading and keeping students on track in and out of the classroom.

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