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Using SMS and parental outreach to improve early reading skills in Zambia

Alejandro Ome and Alicia Menendez

Education Economics, 2022, vol. 30, issue 4, 384-398

Abstract: We evaluate an intervention using SMS messaging to send short stories to 2nd and 3rd graders in Zambia’s Eastern province, aimed at improving reading skills. For nine months households received three text messages weekly comprising a short story for children to read with their families, and a question about the story. Additionally, parents attended monthly meetings aimed to address any program implementation issues and encourage reading. The program had a positive impact on reading skills, between 19 and 28 percent of a standard deviation. A cost-effectiveness analysis shows that expanding the program nationally would cost USD 20–22 per child.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2021.1988518

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