The Rate of Reading Poverty After the COVID-19 Pandemic School Shutdown and Specific Intervention Strategies for Lower Primary School Pupils in the Southern Province and Western Area of Sierra Leone


  • Philip F. Y. Thulla Njala University
  • Samba Moriba Freetown Teachers' College
  • Dickson Adom Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  • Madiana N. S. Mensah-Gborie Njala University



reading-poverty, proficiency, intervention strategies, learning inability, school shutdown


The study investigates the rate of reading poverty after the COVID-19 pandemic school shutdown and specific intervention strategies for lower primary school pupils in the southern province and western area of Sierra Leone. Randomised experiments of mixed-methods reading interventions for 100 struggling readers in class 5 and 20 English teachers selected from 10 primary schools (5 in the south and 5 in the Western Area) were carried out. The rate of reading poverty and proficiency was first determined in the selected classes using the Access Center method of reading assessment. Two intervention strategies were administered, and the scores for each intervention strategy were measured and compared. The findings reveal that over 70% of the pupils tested in reading in the south mispronounced or skipped five or more words when reading. The overall scores for pupils in the Western Area were relatively lower (a majority scoring less than 30%). The READ 180 reading intervention strategy is recommended to be introduced as the preferred teaching method at the pre-primary and primary school levels in Sierra Leone because of its proven potentiality to increase reading proficiency more than the popular Direct-teaching Model.

Author Biographies

Philip F. Y. Thulla, Njala University

Institute of Languages and Cultural Studies

Madiana N. S. Mensah-Gborie, Njala University

Institute of Languages and Cultural Studies


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