Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Initiative (RAMP) The Decodable Levelled Reading Books Study Report

Introducing the groundbreaking Reading and Mathematics Program (RAMP), a USAID-funded initiative with a mission to transform early-grade education in Jordan's government primary schools. It addresses the need for enhanced foundational abilities in reading and math among early-grade students, particularly those facing challenges. The program emerged from a 2019 survey indicating that while national scores improved, struggling students, especially those in refugee camps, did not progress as desired. The survey underscored the need for tailored reading materials to master phonics, crucial for fluency and comprehension. Consequently, RAMP analyzed Arabic reading textbooks and identified gaps, primarily in grade 2, prompting the introduction of decodable leveled reading books. The study's central objective is to gauge the effectiveness of these books in classrooms. Designed to bolster phonics skills, they aim to bridge proficiency gaps among different-performing students. The literature review discusses decodable and leveled reading books, highlighting their benefits. The study employs a mixed-methods approach, using pre-tests, post-tests, and questionnaires to measure changes in reading fluency, comprehension, and perceptions. The results showed a significant improvement in first-grade emergent readers using decodable books, while struggling third-grade readers exhibited enhanced oral reading proficiency. Second-grade results were less clear. Students reported increased interest and faced challenges, underscoring the need for tailored resources. Teachers largely endorsed the books and recommended wider implementation. In conclusion, the study seeks to advance the "all children reading" goal by enhancing foundational skills for struggling students. It holds promise for Jordan's education system by contributing to equitable and inclusive education.