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


Marker San Francisco, USA
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.

What is Worldreader?

Over 250 million primary school children worldwide lack basic reading and writing skills, limiting their potential. Literacy increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health, and provides the change needed to break the 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 and publishers like Pearson, Penguin Randomhouse, and Pratham Books have added to the collection of free books. The Kenya National Library Service and Pencils of Promise have already integrated the Worldreader model into their programmes that provide books and 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.


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Intended Outcomes
Target Group
Resources Needed
Anyone with an internet-enabled device can immediately access thousands of e-books through the app. Content relies upon local publishers and authors embracing e-books.
HundrED Criteria
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.

See this innovation in action.


Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Believe in the power of digital reading
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Select a school or library to sponsor
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Prepare the e-readers
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Implement the e-reading program
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Bring it to the next level
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Connect with the innovator

Zev Lowe
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