The development of adequate reading skills at an early age can have an enormous influence on the academic achievement of students throughout the course of their educational careers (National Reading Panel, 2000; Slavin, Lake, Chambers, Cheung, & Davis, 2009). However, the reverse is also true. Students may fall behind in school and encounter poor employment and social outcomes later in life if they are unable to develop their reading skills early in their years of schooling (Good, Simmons, & Kame'enui; 2001; Slavin et al., 2009; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001). In fact, existing evidence has shown that, in general, approximately 10% to 15% of children struggle with reading comprehension difficulties (Clarke, Truelove, Hulme, & Snowling, 2013; Duke, Pressley, & Hilden, 2004; Lee & Tsai, 2017; Nation & Snowling, 1999; Stothard & Hulme, 1992). Previous studies have found that the development of student reading skills is often hindered when available reading resources are of low quality, such as insufficient reading materials and teaching guidance, especially in low- and middle-income countries (henceforce, LMICs—Equal Education, 2011; Lavy, 2010; Moloi & Strauss, 2011). For example, a study conducted by the World Bank in 2007 found that the majority of primary school students in Southern and Eastern Africa did not have access to reading books at school (Moloi & Strauss, 2011). Studies in some rural areas of China also reveal that primary school students generally lack reading resources and reading instructions, which leads to low levels of student reading skills (Gao, Wang, Mo, Shi, Kenny, & Rozelle, 2018).
The Campbell Collaboration
Literacy and reading