The USAID Let’s Read project partners with the Zambian Ministry of Education to improve reading outcomes for more than 1.4 million children in pre-primary (kindergarten) through Grade 3, reaching over 4,500 public and community schools in Eastern, Muchinga, North-Western, Southern, and Western provinces. The goal is to strengthen the education system and create a foundation for sustained economic growth by ensuring students can read with comprehension and fluency in one of Zambia’s seven official local languages of instruction.

Learning to read in the early grades is the foundation for learning in all subjects. USAID Let’s Read supports the development and implementation of the Ministry’s Primary Literacy Program curriculum, which applies evidence-based instruction in phonics to build early fluency and comprehension in languages that children speak and understand.

  • Life of Project: January 2019 – January 2025
  • Geographic Focus: Eastern, Muchinga, North-Western, Southern, and Western provinces
  • Implementing Partners: Education Development Center 
  • Chief of Party: Denise Reeves-Clarke -
  • USAID Funding: $49 million
  • USAID Contact: Beatrice Mweene -


goal one 

Provision of literacy teaching and learning materials.


goal two 

Building of capacity for teachers and administrators in literacy instruction and supervision.


goal three 

Tracking learner performance through standardized literacy assessments.


  • As of August 2023, 56% of Grade 2 learners scored at least 60% in the desirable and outstanding categories in the Standardized Literacy Assessments, a 9% increase compared to academic Year 2022.
  • Almost 5,000 schools participating in the USAID Let’s Read program are holding themselves accountable to the community by reporting Standardized Literacy Assessments results on the publicly-available web-based Performance Tracking System dashboard.
  • Private partners Cambridge University Press supported the $2.4 million acquisition and distribution of over 1.4 million local language readers to schools while Tyre King procured and distributed 6,000 readers to approximately 30 schools in 10 districts in Eastern province.
  • Over 24,700 Ministry of Education Administrators, and Educators received training.
  • Provincial Education Officers and education stakeholders from Eastern, Muchinga, North-Western, Southern, and Western Provinces participated in data reviews, discussed the state of literacy and the implementation of the Primary Literacy Program in their respective provinces, set priorities for making meaningful change, and engaged Provincial Education Officers from Luapula, Copperbelt, Central, Lusaka, and Northern provinces to plan to scale the program to all schools.
  • The Teaching Council of Zambia agreed to accredit USAID Let’s Read trainings, so that teachers receive credits when they successfully complete the project’s trainings
Basic Education; Literacy