Model & Strategy

Worldreader is working to transform reading in the developing world, using e-readers to give children endless access to books so they read more and can improve their lives. Worldreader has found that children read significantly more and better than they did before the program. Independent evaluation sponsored by USAID also finds that Worldreader primary school children’s reading scores have increased by eight points over those of control schools, and fluency levels have increased dramatically.

The books themselves are a mixture of local (Ghanaian and Kenyan) textbooks and storybooks in English and Kiswahili that Worldreader has digitized, together with international books. Worldreader has worked with publishers from Random House to Puffin to Penguin to get the rights to use books for free. Worldreader works with partners from Ministers of Education to teachers and community leaders to ensure the success of the program.

At a Glance
Founded: 2010
Education
Location of work: International, Africa, Asia, Latin America
Worldreader
40 Ringold Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Eradicate illiteracy
David Risher of Worldreader
Meet David Risher

David Risher is the President and Co-Founder of Worldreader.org. He was a General Manager at Microsoft and later Amazon.com’s Senior Vice President of US Retail before retiring and teaching at the University of Washington’s Business School.  He is a member of ESADE Business School’s International Advisory Board and he has been deeply involved in education at all levels.  In 2016, he was selected as one of 12 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs.  David holds a degree in Comparative Literature from Princeton University, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and sits on the International Advisory Board of Catalonia.

 

IMPACT

In 2018, Worldreader empowered over 495,000 people to read from their free digital library, bringing the cumulative number of people reading since 2010 to 11.3M. They spent 108,100 hours reading on tablets and mobile phones.

Worldreader published its final report on the LEAP 2.0 Project, a collaboration between Worldreader and KNLS, the Kenya National Library Service. The project brought Worldreader’s digital reading platform to all 61 national public libraries in Kenya, deploying 3000 e-readers and 600,000 books, and saw sign-ups of over 38,000 new library patrons.

At the end of 2018, PepsiCo South Africa promoted Worldreader on over 70M packages of Simba crisps. The partnership was recently recognized by PepsiCo’s executive leadership through their inaugural 2018 One Billion Smile Awards, which celebrates the outstanding achievements of partnerships, increasing employee engagement.

For Giving Tuesday, Worldreader and Penguin Random House teamed up to run a social media campaign: For every book purchased on prh.com over the week, Penguin Random House donated $1 to Worldreader. 2,500 books were sold to support readers around the world.

  • To celebrate helping millions of people read in 2018, over the next week we’re going to share stories of some of ou… https://t.co/nYIvxgzrr6
  • Our 2018 annual report is live! We couldn’t be prouder to share how you helped change readers’ lives in 2018 and ho… https://t.co/AmhAKpVv45
  • What comes to mind when you think of a hockey stick? To us, it symbolizes reaching readers like never before: tens… https://t.co/rCXV5CX5WW
  • Throwback to our time spent in Nairobi, #Kenya with thought leaders from around the world discussing the power of… https://t.co/H85dagj4rg
  • In our 2018 annual report we talk about how we plan to reach a billion readers – one reader at a time. We can’t wai… https://t.co/xQogpIHnsC
  • We’re so proud to share our 2018 annual report with you. Thank you for making this our most exciting year yet. Read… https://t.co/XG9I7wBh55
  • RT @InspireUsWA: Today we were lucky enough to be involved with the Nyansapo Literacy Project launch event. Kezia lead by example, taking s…
  • RT @InspireUsWA: “Women in leadership have a greater responsibility to carry in Africa. To get to the same level of responsibility as a man…
  • Thank you to the teams from ⁦@FinancialForce⁩, ⁦@salesforce⁩ and partners who completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks C… https://t.co/4ze71Sh4di
  • RT @btmetcalfe: Amazing day hiking 26 miles and ascending 3 of Yorkshire’s highest peaks for @worldreaders today. Weather was great but it…
  • Huge congratulations to you all! 🙌 https://t.co/WazeJPbJv9
  • Fantastic pictures, thank you for sharing and huge congratulations for reaching the final peak! Thank you and well… https://t.co/1sNC2wPmwt
  • Footage from our trip to Nairobi, Kenya last week where we met with students and teachers who are leading the way i… https://t.co/SA5zkAEieU
  • Woohoo! Go team go. Wishing for the best of conditions on your adventure 🌄💪 https://t.co/cvs5Pg3TGA
  • Best of luck! The whole Worldreader family is thinking of you 😄 https://t.co/iOZdXnMOVL
  • RT @GEMReport: The level of #aid to #education continue to stagnate, growing by only 1% per year on average since 2009. These figures raise…
  • RT @InspireUsWA: This week's #WriterWednesday we are featuring Chika Unigwe and her short story, "Waiting". Available for free on the @worl…
  • Amazingly sunny morning too! Good luck everyone and thank you for the early start on our behalf. 😎 https://t.co/liyDHzjt3x
  • Wishing our friends the best of luck on their trip! We are so grateful for your continued support, your dedication,… https://t.co/UjiJFCymDq