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Want to place culturally relevant books at the heart of reading?

Worldreader is a global nonprofit championing digital reading in underserved communities to create a world where everyone can be a reader. They feature an extensive selection of over 40,000 digital books, stories, and teaching materials in 43 languages to use for free. Their easy-to-use mobile app is designed to work on the most basic internet-enabled phone, using minimal data and loading times.

HundrED 2018


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

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Target group
September 2017

About the innovation

What is Worldreader?

Over250 millionprimary school children worldwide lack basic reading and writing skills, limiting their potential. Literacy increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health, and provides thechange needed to breakthe cycle of poverty. To increase literacy skills, readers need books. However,40% of schools in Africa have little to no access to material.

Children need books in their own language that reflect local culture and life experience. Lifelong readers are born when their first book is relatable and interesting.

Worldreader places books in the hands of aspiring children, families, and communites where books are scarce. With a collection of over 40,000 digital books in 43 languages, readers have access to stories that resonate locally. Corporations such as Opera, Amazon, and Microsoft have already helped Worldreader reach over 5 million readers andpublishers like Pearson, Penguin Randomhouse, and Pratham Books have added to the collection of free books. The Kenya National Library Serviceand Pencils of Promise have already integrated the Worldreader model into their programmes that provide booksand promote literacy.

By providing parents, teachers, and librarians with the training and resources to champion reading, Worldreader seeks to foster community-wide reading cultures. Using an app that requires minimal data and internet usage, Worldreader has a range of programmes that increase literacy using digital technology. Titles are optimised for even the smallest screen sizes.

In impoverished areas, Worldreader engages in sponsorship programmes which provide e-readers to schools and libraries. This scheme is currently implemented in 424 sub-saharan African schools and libraries in 16 countries.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


Worldreader breaks down the barriers keeping readers in under-served communities from accessing the books. With digital access, content is no longer confined by format or borders.


In Africa, studies have found that after just five months, reading speed and comprehension significantly increased in both native languages and English. Access to books helped girls close an existing gender gap in literacy rates.


With mobile phones, laptops, or e-readers found nearly everywhere around the world, Worldreader provides instant access to thousands of culturally-relevant reading materials anywhere a reader wants. The Worldreading app is specifically designed to work with any device and tailored for use in areas where connectivity is unreliable and expensive.

Implementation steps

Believe in the power of digital reading
Technology makes reading more accessible and more enjoyable than ever before.

From reducing book distribution costs, to helping people around the world find culturally relevant content in local languages, digital reading has transformed the way we think about books. The convenience and enjoyment around reading from e-readers and mobile phones also increases the likelihood of developing a reading habit and a lifelong love of books.

Select a school or library to sponsor
Our e-reading programs can be implemented in a school or library of your choice, within the geographic locations Worldreader operates.

In order for a school to be a good fit, the headmaster, teachers, and/or librarians must understand the importance of digital reading and how the implementation can be key for the success of the community they serve. Typically we allow you to choose from a selection of pre-approved institutions, taking into account your preferences and particular areas of interest.At this time the team will also explain the implementation fees.

Prepare the e-readers
Depending on the agreement, we will prepare your devices loaded with 100 e-books each, in addition to program support services guidelines.

We will work closely to ensure the e-books loaded are relevant to the students or library patrons and check the curriculum availability for your selected country.

Implement the e-reading program
All Worldreader e-reading programs begin with a celebratory launch event hosted at the chosen school or library.

Before the launch, however, Worldreader staff will train a project manager who will be responsible for the training of teachers and/or librarians. Teachers can then teach using the e-readers and library patrons can check out many e-books at one time via the e-readers.

Bring it to the next level
Continued growth and the development of a reading culture allows entire communities to benefit from our programs.

Our past experience with e-reading programs shows that students and library users become more engaged from the beginning and are very excited to use e-readers. Class attendance stabilizes, library usage increases, and children significantly improve their performance at school. However, even when the initial program launch is over, we encourage our school and library projects to keep experimenting with activities that motivate readers.

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