Worldreader, an international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), as part of its “Keep Children Reading,” initiative, is supporting students across the Global South with digital reading while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With 850 million students out of school, Worldreader addresses learning loss with free digital reading solutions for students,” a release by the NGO and copied to the Ghana News Agency.

Quoting the UNESCO, it said; “As of 23 March 2020, 1.2 billion learners across 124 countries have been affected by school disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, representing nearly 73 per cent of all enrolled learners worldwide.”

It said that school closures could result in significant learning loss for students, therefore, in responding to this global health crisis, UNESCO is supporting the implementation of large-scale distance learning programmes and recommending open educational applications and platforms that schools and teachers could use to reach learners remotely.

“When considering how to mitigate learning loss in a pandemic, it should be a top priority to support reading skills and engagement with books, bridging the gap until schools are in session again,” Rebecca Chandler Leege, Worldreader’s Chief Impact Officer, was quoted as saying.

The release said Worldreader would not only support students to acquire knowledge in all subjects, address their stress during this critical moment digitally but also as an important tool for parents and caregivers to build strong bonds.

“For youth, reading can also support literacy skills, 21st Century Skills, work preparedness, self-help and health education, even in low-resource communities, basic phones can provide access to books,” it added.

“Worldreader offers two free solutions for students available on mobile phones. For young and primary-aged children, BookSmart gives parents, caregivers, and primary students themselves access to a library, so they can continue learning while physical schools are out of session.”

It noted that the BookSmart starts with a free base collection, local and international books suitable for young readers and their parents available via the Google Play Store or web browser.

Worldreader is also giving older students and young adults free Worldreader reading app, available via the Google Play Store or web browser which features hundreds of books for learning and pleasure, in categories including Learn, Health, and Career.

Worldreader supports programs in five regions; East and West Africa; Latin America; Middle East-North Africa; and South Asia, while readers across 47 countries benefit from its digital library.

It has distributed over 40 million digital books to readers around the world since 2010.

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