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) text- and story-books 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.
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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. 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.
- Worldreader grew its digital library by 14,500 books to a total of 30,000 titles, including a book by the iconic Wole Soyinka, the first African to ever win the Nobel Prize for literature.
- In 2015, Worldreader kicked off the Mobile Reading to Children Project in India, a collaboration with Pearson designed to encourage parents to read to their children on mobile phones. They also forged an agreement with the Kenya National Library Service to help incorporate e-reading programs into all 60 of Kenya's public libraries.