What works to improve early grade literacy in Latin America and the Caribbean? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Author(s): Stone, Rebecca; De Hoop, Thomas; Coombes, Andrea; Nakamura, Pooja

Date: 2019

Pages: p. 1-112

Serie: Campbell Systematic Review

Series Volume: 16, 1 (2020)


This review examines the effectiveness and fidelity of implementation of various programs implemented in the LAC region that aim to improve EGL (Early Grade Literacy) outcomes, including teacher training, school feeding, computer‐aided instruction, nutrition, and technology‐in‐education. Main findings of the study: Teacher training, nutrition, and technology‐in‐education programs on average do not show positive effects on EGL outcomes in the LAC region. However, there are several factors that could potentially enable positive impacts. These include combining teacher training with coaching, targeting school feeding and other nutrition programs to low‐income countries with high rates of stunting and wasting, and combining technology‐in‐education programs with a strong focus on pedagogical practices. The review also identifies some opportunities for improving the design and implementation of EGL programs. Studies support the need to teach phonological awareness (PA) skills early on, but caution is required considering the small evidence‐base in the LAC region. The evidence also supports investing in preschool quality through well‐implemented teacher training. Finally, ministries of education in low‐income countries with high rates of stunting and wasting could consider investing in programs to improve the nutrition outcomes of students.

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