Over the past few weeks we have been sweet-talking education workers, friends, organisation partners and even neighbours to help us complete reading assessments in every primary school in Gulu town. With the high population of children in Uganda (about 50% of the country is under the age of 15 years) – there’s a lot of primary schools around: within the municipality (town) this year we reached 83 primary schools!

We have been testing a random sample of 15 children from each class in P1, P2 and P3 classes (the first three years of primary school). We have been following a slightly adapted version of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) designed to test pupils’ early reading skills in low-income countries. Our aim is to complete the tests this Friday – and by then we would have listened to 3,735 children read! That’s a pretty good picture of what early grade reading looks like in Gulu. And a very exhausted group of testers 🙂 I think many of us have been falling asleep and dreaming of that comprehension passage!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved in carrying out these reading tests. Your commitment to improving reading in Gulu, and also Uganda, is deeply valued and appreciated! 

After collating and analysing all the results we will then share summary reports with each school individually, an overview of results to the local education office and also national government. But our biggest aim for the reading tests is to dictate our priorities for next year: which schools need a lot more support and how we can best help them. There’s already been a few very encouraging stories which we plan to share very soon.

Below is a letter written from a P3 child at a local government school in Gulu. I was handed a few letters today when I visited Layibi Central Primary School today for reading assessments. We have been working with this school since these children were in P1, and it is exciting to see some steady progress and improvements in reading! We certainly don’t need to see these letters from pupils, the reading test results are proof enough – but it is very encouraging nonetheless! Although the letters thank me personally, we wouldn’t be able to achieve any of this without many of you taking part in this journey with us. Thank you! 


A P2 pupil in a Gulu primary school participating in our round of Early Grade Reading Assessments.


Marking off our reading tests…


A letter of thanksgiving from a P3 pupil at a government school in Gulu – she is thankful she can now read!


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