Reading for Success - National Program for Reading

Speeches Shim

Two Moroccan students reading from their textbooks
Two students practice sounding out letters in their textbooks
Creative for USAID

In 2015, seven out of ten first grade students in Morocco could not read at grade level.

Morocco has achieved nearly universal access to education in the last decade, with net enrollment rates in grade one surpassing 97 percent. However, this seemingly positive statistic hides many challenges that students face in achieving long-term academic success, particularly in terms of early grade reading performance. In 2015, seven out of ten first grade students in Morocco could not read at grade level. A recent study identified insufficient teacher training and the absence of supplementary reading materials as two of the main factors that prevent students from becoming successful, independent readers.

USAID Response


In 2015, USAID partnered with the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research to launch the 30-month Reading for Success – Small-Scale Experimentation activity to develop and test the most effective approaches to strengthen students’ Arabic reading skills in targeted primary schools. With the positive results from the pilot phase, and building on the data, evidence, and lessons learned, the Ministry of Education decided to implement this approach in grades one through four in all public elementary schools nationwide.

USAID supports the national Reading for Success program by:

  • Developing a NEW ARABIC LANGUAGE CURRICULUM FOR GRADES 1-4 based on the phonics-based approach and highly-interactive activities.
  • TRAINING TEACHERS on proven best practices and teaching methods.
  • Creating REMEDIAL AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR READING ACTIVITIES to be implemented in schools and community centers.
  • INCREASING FAMILY AWARENESS of the importance of reading for their children’s future.
  • Designing and conducting Morocco-specific STUDENT READING AND WRITING ASSESSMENTS for grades one and two.

Results Achieved

  • New phonics-based Arabic reading approach implemented across Morocco.
  • Approximately 690,000 students in grades one through four reached with the new reading instruction method.
  • Reading lessons were implemented in all grade one classes in the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Community engagement strengthened through expanded school- and community-based remedial and extra-curricular activities.
  • More children in grades one through four reading at grade level with comprehension.