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Room to Read

World change starts with educated children

Founded in 2000, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality by helping children in historically low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls as they build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and partner organisations to deliver positive outcomes at scale.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






Target group
Students basic
September 2023
Children have an inherent right to the education. They need to solve challenges unique to their lives and to shape their futures with dignity.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Globally, nearly 800 million people are illiterate, two thirds of which are women and girls. Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education and make positive change. Since our start in Nepal 22 years ago, we have expanded to work in 23 countries around the globe, operating at the nexus of school and community-level implementation and education systems.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on systemic education transformation during the two most vulnerable time periods in a child's education: acquiring literacy skills in primary school and reducing dropout among girls in secondary school.

Our Literacy Program trains and coaches teachers, creates and publishes quality books and curricular materials, and establishes libraries filled with diverse children’s books in local languages that can be enjoyed at school or home. Our seven-year Girls’ Education Program builds girls' skills to succeed in secondary school and make key life decisions by providing life skills curriculum, mentorship and peer support, and family and community engagement.

Our programs have sustainable impact. By the end of Grade 2, students tested in primary schools read twice as fast as their peers on average and, in some countries, nearly three times as fast. Our RCT in India found that adolescent girls in our program were 25% less likely to drop out of school.

How has it been spreading?

Working at scale, Room to Read has benefited more than 39 million children and has worked in more than 23 countries. We plan to benefit 40 million children by 2025 through our gradual release approach to systems change in three incremental phases: Demonstration, Partnership and Expansion. Our work in schools is spread exponentially via remote learning solutions such as remote mentoring, virtual training, TV and radio broadcasts. In 2020, Room to Read reached 123 million households in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka via TV, and 58 million households in India and Nepal via radio. Room to Read was selected by the Center for Global Development's Learning@Scale study, which recognized our Literacy Program as one of eight programs globally that are "effective at scale."

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Room to Read is working at the intersection of education and world’s great challenges. A partnership with Room to Read can blend your organisation’s goals with our programmatic objectives. In order for us to begin a conversation, please contact us at

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

This project is highly impactful because it addresses critical educational challenges in early literacy and girls' dropout rates, achieving significant improvements in reading skills and reducing dropout rates by 25%.

By providing remote learning solutions like remote mentoring, virtual training, TV and radio broadcasts, this innovation can be easily adapted in many contexts.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Spread of the innovation

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