Cooperative for Education

Indigenous children in rural Guatemala suffer from low literacy and high dropout rates. They typically read three years below grade level; three out of four leave school by the sixth grade. Their poorly-trained teachers lack the ability to make learning meaningful for them. Without adequate reading skills, they remain targets of exploitation and injustice, and the cycle of poverty continues for them and their families.

CoEd’s Culture of Reading Program (CORP) delivers training in effective reading instruction to rural teachers and provides them with resources to facilitate reading in the classroom. Better-trained teachers help their students improve their reading and writing skills so that they can achieve more in school, continue their education longer, and overcome the challenges caused by low literacy.

The program provides sustainable, ongoing support to beneficiaries. CORP delivers 60 hours of group instruction in effective reading pedagogy. Teachers also receive individual support and approximately 72 high-quality children’s books.

Support from Better World Books will help provide 65 primary-school teachers in rural Guatemala with training in effective reading instruction and 2,340 books for their classrooms.


With the help of Better World Books, the CORP program was able to teach 65 teachers in 18 rural elementary schools, get 1,876 children reading and writing in their classrooms and put 3,708 books intro circulation in rural Guatemala.

Teachers use the books to practice strategies for reading aloud, gain children’s interest and engage them in critical thinking. Students act out stories, bringing the text to life. They also retell them, using their own words and drawings to demonstrate their understanding. Children further develop essential literacy skills by authoring original stories on topics or themes important to their lives

CORP’s simple and straightforward methodology rapidly builds Spanish vocabulary, strengthens reading comprehension, builds confidence and competence working with the written language, and makes the learning process more meaningful.

Studies indicate that children in the program achieve significant gains in reading comprension scores—a 16% increase after two years in the program (compared to children at the same age before CORP was introduced). Teachers also report improvement in student interest and an increase in the number of children passing to the next grade level.