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World Change Starts with Educated Children

Room to Read

location_on United States
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 organizations to deliver positive outcomes at scale.
Children have an inherent right to the education they need to solve challenges unique to their lives and to shape their futures with dignity.

Geetha Murali, CEO Room to Read


HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
32 000 000
Updated on August 9th, 2022
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 21 countries around the globe, operating at the nexus of school and community-level implementation and education systems.

How does your innovation work 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 32 million children and has worked in more than 49,000 communities and 21 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 organization’s goals with our programmatic objectives. In order for us to begin a conversation, please contact us at


See this innovation in action

World Refugee Day: Room to Read provides Afghan children with stories of building a new home
New book collection helps Afghan children process their new lives in Houston
Room to Read Awards and Recognition
World Refugee Day: Room to Read provides Afghan children with stories of building a new home
Room to Read CEO honored at Credit Suisse and Time’s 2022 Women of Impact event
On Our Path to Global COVID-19 Recovery, We Must Focus on Literacy | United Nations
Around the World in Nine Updates
2021 Year in Review
Meet Sifa from Tanzania
Pratik's home library
Inside Room to Read's Girls' Education Program in Cambodia


Achievements & Awards

September 2020
Library of Congress Literacy Award Winner, 2020 Special Response Award
October 2014
Library of Congress Literacy Award Winner, Rubenstein Prize
September 2014
Winner of 4-Star (highest) Charity Navigator rating 10 consecutive years in a row
September 2014
World's Children's Prize
July 2013
Skoll Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurship
July 2011
UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy

Spread of the innovation

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