Reading Rescue (Rescate Lector)

About the Project

This project is one of the 2011 WISE Awards finalists.

Reading Rescue teaches elementary students from poor communities how to read properly. In Araucania, 60 percent of the poorest children are unable to read, and this is one of the main causes of lagging behind educationally and low self-esteem. The Reading Rescue process has four steps. First, children are individually diagnosed on reading speed and are given an initial score. Next, groups of four children are assigned to retired teachers who have six weeks to achieve a final reading speed based on their own experience. Children are externally assessed and if they achieve the goal, they graduate from the program and teachers receive the equivalent of $2 (US) for each word the child has improved his or her mastery of. At the end of the year, each child is awarded a book and a certificate in a ceremony.

Context and Issue 

In both 2012 and 2015, 15-year-olds have shown PISA reading averages below the world average (441 and 459, respectively). The different reading evaluation processes developed by Fundación AraucaníAprende have corroborated the trend among First Cycle Elementary children in vulnerable schools in the IX region. Its results have shown that during 2006, according to the results of the Ministry of Education’s measurements, approximately 60% of 4th grade students did not achieve the minimum reading skills, with a percentage close to 10% whose reading was syllabic or null.

Solution and Impact 

For teaching vulnerable students how to read and mobilizing the knowledge and experience of retired teachers, the project received the 2009 Education Innovation National Award. The Ministry of Education wants to extend the program to other regions in the future in order to help achieve greater social equity.

The program has fostered a high degree of social participation, including elderly people and children living in poor conditions. Forty-seven private companies donated $600,000 (US) in 2006-2010 as an act of social responsibility, and the Ministry of Education gave $1,000,000 (US) in 2010-2011.

April 26, 2011 (last update 12-29-2020)