On March 18, 2021 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presented the results of the Time to Read project implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Culture. This five-year initiative instilled innovative methods of teaching reading in primary schools across the country. The project also provided 1.5 million children’s books to schools and libraries.
In order to provide educational and fun high quality and diverse reading materials for early grade students, the USAID Time to Read project distributed these books to 900 schools across the country. Recognizing the contributions from local authors and publishers to the project, the USAID Acting Mission Director said, “This is truly something to celebrate-Kyrgyz made books in the hands of Kyrgyz children.
Another goal of the project was to improve reading skills of students in grades 1-4 by training teachers and promoting the culture of reading in schools and homes. “We trained more than 9,000 teachers and other specialists on innovative ways to teach reading. These teachers will now have the tools they need to support more than 200,000 Kyrgyz students become skilled readers” says Alder Barlett, USAID/Kyrgyz Republic Acting Mission Director.
With the support of TTR, teachers learned to use more interactive ways to teach reading using approaches such as stories, plays, and handicrafts. As part of the training, the teachers were provided with guidelines, posters, and other helpful materials to support their work. After completing the courses, teachers received official Kyrgyz government certificates on professional development in reading instruction from the Ministry of Education and Science.
“The project helped to strengthen 900 school libraries with 217 different titles laying the institutional foundation for improving the quality of reading instruction in early grades” said Ainura Kuseinova, chief specialist at the MES.
Overall, since 2012, USAID has provided more than 2 million children’s books as part of programs to support basic education in Kyrgyzstan. USAID plans to continue its partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic under a new initiative titled “Okuu Keremet!”. It focuses on enhancing the reading and math skills of early grade students in nearly all public schools in the Kyrgyz Republic.