All Children Reading and Pearson’s Project Literacy Announce Prize Competition to Increase Global Supply of Accessible Books

Book Boost: Access for All Challenge logoWASHINGTON, DC (October 2, 2017) – All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and Pearson’s Project Literacy today announced an upcoming global prize competition that seeks to increase the global supply of high-quality reading materials accessible for children with print disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision. Launching October 26, 2017, the Book Boost: Access for All Challenge seeks innovations that leverage modern accessibility technologies to reduce the production costs of accessible books, making it more cost-efficient for publishers to produce digital materials that can be read by all.

Producing books is a timely and expensive process, as the skills and expertise required to craft, illustrate, and produce a quality book require significant time and resources. When books are not designed from the outset to be accessible, adapting them to incorporate accessibility features makes the production process even more expensive, and requires extensive duplication of efforts. Most publishers are unable to bear this cost, which has resulted in a shortage of books available to children who are blind or have low vision, as well as those with different print disabilities that would benefit from accessible formats.

When children learn to read early in life, they experience improved long-term outcomes in employment, health and lifelong learning, underscoring the need to provide all children with materials that will allow them to do so.

“There are few factors more important to a child’s future than achieving literacy early in life, and there simply are not enough accessible books available to ensure that every child will have access to the materials they need to learn to read,” said Deborah Backus, World Vision Senior Program Manager for All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development. “By embracing innovations in the production process, we anticipate a significant increase in the availability of these materials.”

The Book Boost: Access for All Challenge is the latest in a series of competitions that leverages science and technology to source, test, and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries. For the past six years, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development has invested in innovative approaches to impact the global supply and distribution of supplemental reading materials.

The prize competition also advances the goals of Project Literacy, a coalition-led campaign founded and convened by Pearson which focuses on supporting promising solutions for early childhood, family engagement and adult literacy.

“In 2016, we set a goal to ensure that 100 percent of our digital products are accessible to learners with print disabilities by 2020,” said Jennifer Young, Director of Global Social Impact Programs. “The Book Boost: Access for All Challenge will spur innovation that moves us closer to that goal, and we are proud to be a partner in this competition.”

About All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, established in 2011 as a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, is an ongoing series of grants and competitions that leverage science and technology to source, test and disseminate scalable solutions to improve literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries.

About Pearson
Pearson, the world’s learning company, founded and convenes Project Literacy, a global coalition-based campaign to make significant and sustainable advances in the fight against illiteracy so that by 2030 all people – regardless of geography, language, race, class, or gender – have the opportunity to fulfill their potential through the power of words.

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