All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development

Launched in 2011 by USAID, World Vision and the Australian Government, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is an ongoing series of grant and prize competitions that leverage science and technology to source, test, and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries.

At a Glance

Innovations 3
Favorites 7
Budget: $25,000,000

Program Status Update

Round 1 – (2011-2013)

Round 1, launched in November 2011, funded 32 early grade literacy innovators working in 22 countries with a focus on:

  1. teaching and learning materials, and
  2. education data.

Round 2 – (2014-2017)

Round 2 has four components—grant competition, prize competitions, research and partnerships—and seeks technology-based innovations to improve early grade reading outcomes in developing countries, with three focus areas:

  1. Mother tongue instruction and reading materials: Promoting the creation and delivery of reading materials in languages children express and understand.
  2. Family and community engagement: Providing technologies, approaches and content to help families and communities in low-resource settings support early grade literacy.
  3. Children with disabilities: Enhancing early grade reading outcomes for learners with disabilities.

Round 2 has funded 12 grant competition innovators and an ongoing list of prize competition winners for the following prize competitions:

  • EduApp4Syria - This competition was seeking a smartphone application that can build foundational literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian children who are out of school or struggling in school. The winner’s games, Antura and the Letters and Feed the Monster, are now available for free download from Google Play and the App Store.
  • Tracking & Tracing Books - Solution to track books destined for early grade classrooms and learning centers in low-income countries and allow stakeholders–ranging from parents to Ministry of Education–to easily access tracking information. 
  • Enabling Writers - SIL International won $100,000 for development of Bloom software which allows authors to easily create and export texts in mother tongue languages to help early grade students learn to read.  The prize competition included development, field testing in four countries and a comprehensive review of its functionality.  
  • Technology to Support Education in Crisis and Conflict Settings - A challenge to source ideas for innovative, technology-supported approaches for children to maintain access to basic education despite disruptions experienced during crisis or conflict. 
  • Big Ideas - Mobiles for Reading 2015/16 - A challenge to develop novel, mobile technology-based innovations or methods that can improve reading outcomes for children in developing countries. Innovative topics proposed could focus on the enhancement of and/or the development and creation of new tools/methods. 
  • Big Ideas - Mobiles for Reading 2014/15 - Seeking novel, mobile technology-based innovations to enhance early grade reading scores in developing countries. Proposals may also adapt or apply existing mobile-based technologies in new and innovative ways.

To view the winners for each competition, click on the prize link.

For more information, including future competitions, please visit the All Children Reading website.


Literacy unlocks human potential and is the cornerstone of development. It leads to better health, better employment opportunities, and safer and more stable societies. However, a 2013/2014 UNESCO report indicates that 250 million children across the globe are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills. Of these, 57 million children—a disproportionate number of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, live in conflict-afflicted countries, are disabled, or are girls—aren’t enrolled in school at all.

Children who do not develop reading skills during early primary education are on a lifetime trajectory of limited educational progress and, therefore, limited economic opportunities. Early grade reading competency is critical for continued retention and success in future grades and the educational achievement of a country’s population is directly correlated with its economic growth rate. 


Launched in 2011 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development is an ongoing series of grant and prize competitions that leverages science and technology to source, test, and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries.




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